Improve Website Readability

Fonts

With the increasing use of fonts that are delivered across the web, your website is no longer limited to the handful of fonts that are common to most browsers and computers.

Instead, you can use a wide variety of fonts that are available for this purpose or you can even host more obscure fonts on your own server and deliver them to people browsing your site.

Just because you can do something doesn’t mean that you should!

Certain fonts are designed to be more decorative than readable (check out one called Nervous for instance) but even more common fonts such as Old English can be awkward to read, even before they are used on screen which reduces readability.

Font size

You also need to check that the font size is readable on both a computer screen and a mobile phone screen.

Ideally, you should test this on a variety of devices before you go live with your website design but equally if your site was designed long enough ago for it not to have been tested on mobile devices it’s worth adding that to your checklist.

Background images

Trendy printed magazines love to use background images behind their text.

Doing the same on the web can make a page completely unreadable.

This is especially true now that the variety of screen sizes is even more diverse, so unless the image resizes to the same extent that the page does, there may be insufficient contrast in unexpected areas.

Lots of white space

It’s been proven in various studies that it’s more difficult to read something on screen than when it’s printed.

This means that some conventions that are fine on the printed page – such as merely indenting the start of a paragraph – are bad for readability on the web.

Shorter sentences and shorter paragraphs generally make a web page easier to read.

Bullet pointed lists often help to break up otherwise long chunks of text – bolding alternate bullets can help break them up even further.

Easy to spot links

The regular colour for links on the web is blue.

It used to be a convention that links were always underlined but it’s now more common to only show the underlining when users hover their mouse over the link.

But it also means that you should be wary of underlining words if they’re not part of a link – it can confuse website visitors.