Words Work When They’re Readable

10 years ago the web was slow as a snail so websites were simple: black font with a white background. Today, because CSS is a thing and slow internet isn’t we’ve started designing the crap out of pages.

I can’t tell you how many sites I encounter that use a charcoal gray font color. It looks pretty but causes so much eye strain. And because CCS allows for it we also have pages with fancy shiny buttons, an incredible array of color shades, gradient backgrounds, shadow effects, parallax effect (example: a background image is moved at a different speed than the foreground content while scrolling), etc.

If your objective is to have visitors read your page content (and I hope it is) then just get out of way and follow the universal comfort reading formula: black text, nice big font size, eggshell white background.

Books and newspapers have used this formula for centuries.

This is ESPECIALLY important when talking about mobile pages.

Basecamp.com has some of the best graphic designers on staff. They could easily design the most beautiful pages in the world. But they don’t do it. Here is a snippet of the page they created to promote their latest book “Calm” (https://basecamp.com/books/calm):

Basecamp_Book_Calm.PNG

 

[My screenshot doesn’t do justice. Check https://basecamp.com/books/calm on your phone for full effect.]

We think visitors will not read long text. They will not read long text if your site is over-designed (design can cause distraction fatigue). They will also not read if your text isn’t in the right size proportion. And finally, they will not read if your content is boring. But if you don’t commit those sins your shoppers will read.

And you can take this to the bank: of all the things one could A/B test, words have the biggest influence on converting browsers.

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