We’ve talked before about breaking up the copy – putting white space between the paragraphs, limiting paragraphs to 7 lines or less, using sub-heads, and inserting bullet points so that readers can easily skim the page to see if they actually want to read it.
But what about just being able to see what you’re reading – without needing a magnifying glass?
Pretty is nice… but your website visitors care more about being able to read your message.
Recently I’ve visited a few websites that made me strain to read them. They looked pretty, but… Small font black print on a dark gray or brown background requires a determination to read. I felt like I was in a dark room, trying to make out what was in the shadows.
Then there’s the opposite. Gray print on a black background is equally tough. One site had medium gray print on white. Dark gray might have worked, but those pages just didn’t have enough contrast to make them easy to read.
Those sites reminded me of some movies I’ve quit watching after a half hour – you know there’s something going on there, but can’t see what it is or who is doing it. (I like light!)
The same kind of reading problem comes with using light blue or yellow on white. You won’t feel that you’re in a dark room – maybe in glaring sunlight instead.
And studies have shown that white text on a dark background is good for an accent, but is too hard on the eyes for use on a whole page of text.
I understand why web developers do it – it’s very “artsy” and their clients are impressed by the beauty of their new website. They forget that the ones who need to be impressed – and stick around – are the prospects. Artsy doesn’t count for much if visitors leave without reading your message.
So take a look at your website.
- Is the font large enough? Remember, it’s the Baby Boomers who have the money!
- Does the text stand out clear and crisp against the background?
- Is it possible to skim and get the overall idea of the page?
If the answer to any of those questions is “Not really,” then it’s time for some updates.