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Interactive Guide Illustrates How Typography Affects Your Website’s Readability

The fonts you use on your website will affect visitors in a variety of ways. Font size, face, color and spacing all contribute to the design and readability of the pages. Large, open, sans serif fonts tell a much different story than small, compact condensed fonts, which in turn create a very different mood than those of the sturdy serif variety.

Fonts are an much overlooked design element. Too often, they are a mere afterthought, a smattering of Arial, Verdana or Times arranged into paragraphs for general consumption. But fonts are actually the largest design element on your site. You may have a logo and one or two pictures or illustrations, maybe some icons for good measure, but everything else is text. Your visitors are interacting primarily with words on the page and failure to think about how this affects them can work against you. Poorly picked fonts and bad formatting may keep people from learning about who you are and how you can help them.

If you want to enjoy some fun with typography and learn a few things while you’re at it, Tommi Kaikkonen has put together an interactive guide aimed at helping visitors see how the interplay between different font choices affects a website. The guide provides a solid introduction to the fundamentals of typography, including fonts, fonts size, layout, line height, visual hierarchy, color and more. Examples are shown for each topic, and you can make adjustments to the text and layout that you see on the site in real time.

Playing with the different options for text formatting makes it easy to understand how important good typography really is. Subtle differences can make a site much more readable and easy on the eyes. Since changes to Google’s algorithm have given brand influence and social interaction more weight, keeping people on your site and getting them to recommend your articles is critical to your search marketing efforts. If users are squinting to read 10 point text bunched together in long paragraphs with little variation, they will likely look elsewhere no matter how prescient your insights.

In addition to encouraging visitors to read on, typography can help speak to your firm’s personality. Fonts can make your firm appear young or established, conservative or contemporary. The emotions associated with different fonts run the gamut. If your firm is involved in high-stakes business litigation, you probably do not want to use a whimsical sans serif or display font. However, if you do a lot of work with new startups, intellectual property or even environmental law, you may want to appear more modern or even slightly unconventional. Whatever the mood, it should reflect with clients can expect to experience when they visit your office and speak with you in person. It should be created to attract your ideal client.

Click on over to Tommi’s site and play around. You may be surprised at how different the reading experience is with a few changes to layout, font and spacing. And, as he states on his site, your readers will thank you.

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