You could write the best article with the most original content that has ever hit the web, but if you don’t present it to you audience in a nice neat fashion, it’s likely to never gain any steam. User readability is one part of your website that should not be overlooked. People visit your site to read content, and the better laid out that content is, the easier it is to read.
So, just what can we do to help to increase readability? Here is a quick list of 10 Effective Ways To Improve Online Readability, with a bit of a ‘Family Guy’ twist.
A screen full of text is likely to scare readers off. Come up with interesting ways to break up multiple paragraphs. Use graphs or images to help keep things lively.
Lighten the color of post dates and other information that needs to be included beneath the heading. This allows the reader to quickly look past it and move on to the body of the article.
Text Color and Caps
If you are wanting to emphasize a particular word in a block of text, it’s best to leave the font color alone. When readers see a change in color they expect it to represent an outgoing link.
Secondly, WORDS IN ALL CAPS should be avoided at all costs. This disrupts the natural flow of the text and can be distracting.
Putting the two together is a real crime.
Most blogs need to include advertising so that the time and money put into all of the hard work can be recouped.
I’ve read some articles claiming that one hot spot for ads is directly in the middle of the content. I don’t know how true this is, but it’s guaranteed to break a readers chain of thought.
If you’re going to add some advertising to the body of your article, try and keep it at the top or bottom of the post.
Be careful when wrapping text around images. If you have to, reword the text or alter the image size to allow for some breathing room. White space is a good thing.
When deciding on a font, make sure to pick something that is fairly common. Straying away from more popular font styles increases the chance that the reader won’t have it installed.
Use a good post image that really coordinates well with the topic of your article. This is a great way to grab the readers attention.
If you’re pretty good at using Photoshop, try creating your own custom images to make your posts stand out.
This may be straying a little off topic.
Headings and Subheadings
Make sure that your headings and subheadings stand out from the rest of the text. Doing so allows for easy scanning of articles. As you can see below, even though the heading is larger than the body, it’s not distinguishable enough.
Make sure that you also use a heirarchy of H1, H2, H3 etc. Doing so allows your article to be displayed nicely in RSS feeds.
Ordered and Unordered Lists
Number your lists if they are in a particular order. Bullets have their place and work fine when the list can be freely random.
Just a couple of sentences within a fixed column can take up several lines. While we are used to writing three or four sentences in a paragraph, you can get away with just a couple on the web.
Lengthy paragraphs don’t exactly make for easy reading.
What did I miss?
There are hundreds of useful tips on the subject of readability. Do you know of a few good ones that really contribute to online readability?