Possibly the last thing you will think about when designing your new look website is the font and format of the text on your site, but it is probably the most important part of the site and the design.
Text needs to be mixed with images and white space but too jumbled and your site will lack identity. So here are six top tips to help minimise your potential headache:
1. Bite-sized chunks
People have an ever-shorter attention span, especially on the internet, so you need to grab their attention quickly and say everything you need to say quickly and filled with facts. Smaller modules of text look neater and will be more attractive to your potential reader. They should also be easier to incorporate into your site design.
Imagine your site content as a news story. Give them a headline (A clear sign-posting heading). Tell the most important part of your ‘story’ first. Then if there space, elaborate on it further down, using facts, statistics or a case-study. Then round it off with a summary, repeating your opening lines – but in different words. If you have lots of points to make on the same page, take a similar approach, making the most important point at the top of your page.
3. Words will govern width
The width of a formatted text block has a big impact psychologically on a potential reader. Too many words on a line and the reader will be overwhelmed and put off, much more so than a long page of text. Keep your block manageable. 7- 10 words is an acceptable guide. Much less and your text will look disjointed and also affect the flow.
4. Scrap the scroll
While longer lengths of text are sometimes impossible to avoid, especially if you are keeping an eye on the width, too long and you will also risk losing your reader. We’ve covered the aspect of ‘the fold’ before and there is still something psychologically off-putting for a reader if they constantly have to use the scroll bar or scroll button to read everything on your site. If your text really is too much to get in one screen, try and break it up into separate pages instead, this will create a more natural read for people used to reading traditional books.
5. Bold and italics are not always best
If you want to make an impact, there are more creative options than bold and italics, size has a bigger influence on a computer screen. Colour can help – but don’t overdo it – and remember underlining works much better in books than it does on the screen.
6. Use a master grid
You are probably designing your site on a grid system anyway so make sure your text fits the same. Keep your pages in a familiar form. If people are clicking through your site that familiarity will hook them to keep reading.
Just six tips on keeping your text under control and making it trap your reader on your site – in a nice way – but there are many more. Remember always get honest opinions from others before your site goes live. What you think looks great may come across very differently to others.