Typeface: Size Matters

Posted by Chuck Bankoff On December - 21 - 2010

It is hard enough to get a visitor to actually read your copy, so don’t make it any more difficult than necessary. Generally small font sizes “look” better because they mentally form a block which is a convenient design element. However, effective trumps pretty every time.

There is an awful lot of psychology just to get a visitor to even start reading your copy. Make copy easy to read as possible. Many visitors will bail just because the page “looks like work” at a subconscious level.

The actual size of the font has a lot to do with it. Use 10 point or larger font. Consider a larger size if you are targeting children, adults or if you have very long copy. Captions, form field names, legal and some tech-specs can be smaller.

Smaller text promotes slower reading and a drop-off in comprehension. If you have long page of text, resist the urge to make the font size smaller. This may seem counterintuitive, but a visitor is more likely to “hunker down” and read a longer page of text if it is more comfortable to read (larger font size).

Headlines should be significantly larger and possibly bolder. Sub-headlines should be close to body copy size and bold. Make sure that you group your Headline/sub-headline/copy group together and leave space between the end of your body copy and the next headline. This forms a visual “unit” that helps your visitor mentally organize the concepts in to digestible chunks.

Consistent with making it comfortable to read, text should never run more than 52-60 characters across the screen. People can’t comfortably read long or wide columns. That is why “liquid designs” where the website expands and contracts based on the viewer’s screen resolution is not a good idea. Keep the columns at a fixed width so you don’t lose control of the viewer’s experience.

If you want to download my entire Whitepaper on Landing Page Design – Common Mistakes & Tested Techniques, you can find this and a host of other useful Internet Marketing papers on our free section of the WSIeWorks website.

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