Having trouble reading the screen?

Having trouble reading the screen?

I just clicked on an article title that looked interesting. That was the end of my interest.

When I got to the website that hosted the article, I quickly scanned it to see how long it would take to read (anyone else do that?). My only impression — “there’s so much to read!”

Maybe there wasn’t. But it was laid out in very long paragraphs. The immediate impression was “no way to scan”. Followed by “doesn’t look like it’s worth reading”.

That is certainly not how you want people to respond after clicking on a link to your article. The whole point is to get your article read.

What to do? 3 tips:

1. Make content reader-friendly.

Take that copy and break it up into small, digestible chunks. Keep paragraphs short – 4 lines is ideal. 3 or 5 lines works too.

Reading online can be challenging. Make it easy on the eyes.

2. Use subheads.

Nothing like boldface copy to break up a sea of Helvetica. Subheads allow readers to scan your content quickly. They can hone in on areas of interest or decide whether the article is of value or not.

3. Use a font that’s easy to read on a screen.

Sans serif typefaces are generally the easiest to read online. Sans serif refers to fonts that are clean and modern with no little wings extending from the letters. Think Arial, Geneva and Helvetica.

Serif typefaces have little wings or decorative strokes at the end of a letter. Think Times Roman, Baskerville and Georgia.

While I’ve heard people say that Arial 12 pt. is an ideal font for reading online, that’s not necessarily so. Both serif and sans serif typefaces can be easy to read on a screen based on a few attributes:

  • Is the weight of the type heavy enough to read online?
  • Is the type color legible (think black type on a busy, dark colored background or reverse type on a light background)?
  • Is the font size large enough to be legible? Not just on a laptop screen but on a mobile device as well.

In case you’re wondering, the copy you’re reading uses a sans serif typeface. The blog post headline is serif. Mixing typefaces can enhance the reader experience…. if you don’t get carried away.

One other point to consider……
does the typeface fit the content? This is less important in an article unless the article is on your website. In that case, the typeface should fit the tone and mood of your product or service.

For example, a fussy, decorative typeface is not what you’d want to use if you’re selling a sleek modern product. But it would work well on a site about historic buildings or period costumes.

I love how UrbanFonts.com defines the best font choice: “….ones where readers do not notice the font but the message.” Perfect. Use a font that enables a reader to simply READ the copy!

After all, that is why you’ve written your article.

Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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