by Jim Hague, CEO, CrystalDI Web Design (www.crystaldi.com)
Space and fonts are two important components that carries a hidden communication on the seriousness of not only your website, but your business.
Let’s start with fonts.
Back in the 90’s, when the world was just gaining familiarity with the internet, most computer system carried the basic fonts link Verdana,
Arial, Comic Sans, and San Serif.
The issue that challenged us webmasters at the time was matching the fonts we wanted to use for design to the fonts installed in our client’s computers. If the client’s computer did not contain the font used by web programmers, the browsers would display the text with a different font.
Today that conflict is no longer an issue. Most computer operating systems are installed with thousands of fonts. Webmasters are free to create using the fonts with little concern of on how text will appear on the client side.
Whatever font you use, the size and color are the most important attributes. Be sure headings, sub headings, and paragraph all use different sized fonts or styles and be consistent through out the websites. Like below:
The beginning of a paragraph.
It’s recommended to use a font size of 10pt – 14 pt with colors in complete contrast with the background (i.e. Black fonts with a white background, yellow fonts in a blue background, etc).
Now the type of font used on your website communicates, subconsciously, to the viewers the type of business you are. If your business caters to ‘events for kids’ you may want to consider comic sans or balloon fonts. If you are the owner of an elegant dining hall you may
want a website that uses an elegant font like Pristinaor Vivaldi.
How do you know which is the best font to use? Study your competitors?
Adding Pristina font to a website about beat up old Ford truck is like driving a beat up old Ford truck to your prom.
Now let’s talk about space.
Keep in mind that a computer screen is light! A very bright light. Turn off all the lights in the room except the monitor and you’ll still be able to look for those car keys.
With your face 24 inches away from the monitor your eyes will get tired after some time. When the eyes get tired the result is a 20% slower reader than paper!
To spare your viewers from this pain you must take into consideration of space, alignment, and clutter.
Alignment is an important influence on the way the view reads text. There are four choices for alignment:
left, right, center, and justify.
Paragraphs aligned to the left are the most common and are easy on the eye.
Paragraphs that are
center-aligned has its place
usually websites that are involved in poetry or art.
Right alignment is not
recommended at all. It’s okay if you are trying to collect data like
names and emails with respective entry fields, but people may find this
hard to read.
The most advisable
alignment is justified. We re-visit the Feng Shui concept of sharp edges
promoting bad energy. Left, right, and center alignment causes jagged
edges in the paragraphs it forms. Justify alignment limits jagged edges.
Both sides of a paragraph remain straight, promoting a good reading experience.
Let’s discuss clutter
What would you think about a person who’s closet looks like this?
Not to great.
Clutter denotes low self-esteem. A well-organized closet portrays self-respect and confidence.
Similarly, a cluttered website will communicate that you don’t care what people think. A well groomed and designed website will enhance your image.
Here are some tips on space and layout:Avoid scattering images all over the pages.
Here are some simple rules to follow about clutter.
- Keep columns of text about ¼ inch apart
- Pictures and text should also be at least ¼ inch part
- Links should be placed on top or on the left side of the page and maintained at the same place throughout the site.
- Use no more than two images embedded into a single paragraph.
- Keep reading zones narrow, not stretching from one end of the screen to the other. That only tires eyes
Lets look at the examples below. The company had us re-design the website from what it used to look like on the left, what it looks like on the right (much better).
Use appropriate fonts, paragraph alignment, and clutter. Make it easier for your clients to read your text and they will keep coming back.
Comments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org