We’ve all had the experience of coming across a website with valuable information, interesting products to purchase or a service we are in need of, but become frustrated with the site itself. A poorly designed website will cause a user leave the site and move on to the next search result. Although all websites are different, there are some general guidelines to creating an effective, memorable and easy to use website.
Use the right fonts when designing your website. For easy readability, use CSS to set the text size of your website to 10 or 12 points. Sans-serif fonts such as Arial, Helvetica, Lucida Grande or Verdana make the reading experience more enjoyable. An appropriate width for online reading is between 400-500 pixels. Our eyes are used to reading newspapers, books and magazines that often have white pages with black text on them. Mimic this on your website but keep in mind that, after long amounts of time online, a white background can become exhausting to the eyes. Using a light color such as eggshell, light blue or light grey can minimize eye strain and keep your readers reading.
Emphasize your text. Do not use bold text throughout your website. Using bold text to highlight headlines or subheads is an effective way to break up text and indicate importance.
Use photos, illustrations and video to make things interesting. People are visually stimulated and large blocks of text are exhausting to read. Liven up your website with images and video and include 20px of space around these elements to create openness on your webpage.
Break up your webpages into easy-to-read blocks.
* Use bullets like these in text content to illustrate important points.
* Consider your viewer’s monitor and window size. Break down each page into smaller sections that are easy to view.
* Use side bars to eliminate the monotony of large blocks of text.
* Tease your visitors into viewing the next page by offering them a bit of copy in a text box with a link to click on for more information.
* Remember the attention span of the average viewer online is very short.
A good web design will include all the elements (text, images, video, links) in an easy-to-view format. Always keep in mind the “three-click-rule” and resist the temptation to complicate your design.