Five Easy Ways To Improve The Readability Of Your Website
Whether you are running a content management system, a blog, or just writing a business email, the readability of your content is always extremely important.
Readability, by definition, is the state or quality of being readable. You want to keep your readers eyes locked onto your content and lead them through your text, giving them the information you want them to have, in the order you want them to receive it. We achieve this by arranging our text in a way that is pleasing to the eye whether we are skimming through the information quickly or reading the entire article word for word.
Our goal is to create as little friction and confusion as possible.
Here are five simple ways to improve your website’s readability.
Avoid using all capital letters
Using all capital letters in your paragraph text has long been considered SCREAMING IN TYPE. Many people use “all caps” in their paragraph text to add emphasis, but in reality all they add is confusion. The human eye by nature does not like to read through a large amount of writing in “all caps”.
When adding emphasis in a paragraph, try to sparingly using a bold or italic effect instead. Your readers will thank you.
Avoid centering your headlines and paragraphs
Printed posters and flyers occasionally use centered headlines and text, but this is rarely appropriate when writing content for the web. Since we first learned to read, we have all become accustomed to reading text that is aligned to the left. I can’t ever remember reading a book that was formatted differently.
There are rare occasions where other formatting will work, but be careful not to add any confusion to the readers eye, especially in your paragraph text.
Use paragraph breaks
In grade school we were taught to indent the first line of every paragraph. When writing for the web we take this a step further and put a space between paragraphs by using paragraph breaks. This added white space between paragraphs will give your readers eyes a rest and allow them to skim through to the content that interests them faster.
Use consistant and appropriate colors
Using a different color for each of your subheadings may be fun to do, but in most cases you are just confusing your reader.
Is this a new blog post or article? Is this another subheading in the same article?
Making drastic changes to your formatting can be very distracting. It is a good practice to use consistant color, font type, and size for your headlines, subheadings, paragraphs, etc, so your readers will easily flow though your content knowing exactly where they are.
Avoid scrolling sideways
Although books are written with pages facing each other horizontally, we have grown accustomed to scolling downward when reading web sites. If your text is formatted to be wider than the average monitor, you are forcing your reader to scroll sideways, using more mouse movement than is neccesary, and may distract them from whats important – your valuable content.
These are just a handful of the many ways to make your content more readable on the internet. These rules, like all others, are meant to be broken, but only when the design calls for it and it does not cause added difficulty for your reader.
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