Did you know that you can create great text for your Web site, yet make it next to impossible for visitors to read your splendid words?
Inexperienced Web business owners are usually so carried away with exciting graphic elements that they neglect a Web publishing basic: make the text readable.
Yeah, you think, but who wants boring black text on a boring white background, when the Web is full of color and excitement? Why not make it vibrate with energy? Good question, but here’s one that’s more important: are you designing to satisfy yourself, or to sell your products, information, or services?
I’m often asked to critique sites. Here are some of the biggest errors relative to text that I’ve found on Web sites. They all break one of the cardinal rules of site design: design your text for easy reading.
- Graphic background that overshadows the text Example 1.
- Small-size text that is all in bold.
- Site text that is all in bold.
- Deep-color background with text in a color that makes reading difficult Example 2.
- Gray text on a white background Example 3.
- Black background with deep blue text Example 4.
- Vivid-color background with vivid-color text Example 5.
- Bloated paragraphs that intimidate the visitor because of their size Example 6.
If you’re making a statement to the world, and your statement includes wild colors and poor text contrast: fine. You may not care if anyone reads it, in fact, sometimes just having it in cyberspace gives you all the satisfaction you need.
But if you want to run a business, then treat your visitors with respect. Anticipate their needs. They have limited time and resources. Some are color-blind or have other vision impairments. Many have very small monitors; this includes a number of laptops (notebooks), notepads, and mobile deviced. Some systems have outdated video cards or low color depth abilities.
Give your business, organization, or project a break! Don’t color text for dramatic effect. Make sure that every aspect of your site design is done to meet or beat your visitors’ expectations … especially your text. It’s a great way to get a return on your investment.