As someone who really loves words, I feel as if they tend to take a backseat in importance when it comes to UX design. Sure, they are center stage during brand discovery where a logo is as over-analyzed as Robert Frosts’ “The Road Not Taken” in order to find the true impact of a company’s message, ideals, culture, etc. We get it, say as much as you can with as little as possible.
But the choice of font that goes into the design of your website goes far beyond a branded piece. Typography can both help and sink your website’s UX design. Certain fonts are harder to read for older audiences, while others can generate more leads, and some just make people angry on sight. (Looking at you, Fascinate.)
Before we share some tips on how typography benefits UX, let’s define it first.
What is Typography?
Typography is the practice of arranging letters and text so that copy can be both legible and visually appealing to readers. The three main elements of typography are font style, appearance, and structure. As I mentioned earlier it plays a much larger role than appearance it’s a way to create a visual hierarchy on your site. It will also help balance graphics on a webpage page. The font on your website is there to direct readers to where they need to go. You need to make sure it’s clear and easy to follow.
Now, we can get into the fun stuff. Let’s talk about how typography affects UX design on a website.
There are three things you need to consider when you select the font size for your website, the size of type, line spacing, and the age of the reader. It’s not a big surprise that the older you get the worse your eyes get. So, smaller fonts are going to be more difficult to read for a lot of audiences.
A few studies have shown that increased font sizes tend to lead to faster reading speeds and there are even reports showing that when fonts have been increased from 10px to 13px, it led to more conversions. When a font is easy to read and doesn’t strain your eyes, you are able to fully understand information and are more willing to follow instructions. Just think about all of the times you’ve skipped over the terms and agreement because the font was 8px.
How Bad Font Design Hurts Users
In a study by MIT psychologist, Kevin Larson he tested how the type choice, layout, and line spacing could affect the emotions of readers. He split them into groups and had them read the same document but with different designs.
The group that had to read the poorly designed handout had visible negative reactions and expressed that they felt bad about what they were reading. Fun fact, the muscles that make someone frown is connected to the part of the brain that governs emotions and creates emotional memories. So, if the typeface on your website is poorly optimized, users will remember that and are less likely to come back.
Pick Your Font Based Off Your Audience
By now, you should have a clear idea of who your target audience is. Use this information to help guide your decision when it comes to selecting your font. If you are a retirement community looking to attract new residents, be sure to use a legible font over anything else. Sans serif fonts are considered the best option here because they are distinctive, well known, and easy to read.
Are you geared towards an audience that is fairly new to reading the English language? Well here’s a shocker, comic sans is one of the best fonts for you to select. The letter-spacing makes it easy for new readers and also it’s one of the fonts that has become a popular alternative to help dyslexic readers.
There is a lot more that goes into typography as a whole but we wanted to at least give you a few tips to help you continue to build a clean and consistent UX within your website.
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