Best Practices for Web Content Usability/Readability: Web Design in MD
As mentioned, the best content is a marriage between content writers and web designers. Maryland website designers are responsible for facilitating ease of reading via effective spacing, color use, typography, etc… The content writer is responsible for creating text that enables readers to identify and internalize information. The general rule for both web design in MD and content writers is that content should be easily understandable, text and typography should be easy to read, and content should be skimmable. Generally, users read less than 30% of the content on a webpage.
- Be concise. Web users have notoriously shore attention spans and don’t read an article through to entirety. Users skim web pages to find the information they want and then move on. Readers scan for keywords, searching a page in a non-linear fashion and have a lowered attention span. Some studies show that an almost 60% increase in usability can be achieved by cutting down web text. (We recommend still adhering to the search engine friendly 250-300 words per web page.) Shorter articles enhance readability—length of words and sentences are factors that influence ease of comprehension and reading.
- Space text blocks out sufficiently. The spacing between words, lines, paragraphs, and even characters is important. How your webpage type is set can significantly affect the legibility and reading speed for users. Tests were conducted to study whether manipulating margin space had an affect on reading comprehension and speed. Effective use of margins allows readers to skim a page significantly faster. Have your graphic designer in MD evaluate your web page typography for special issues and then modify CSS as needed. CSS properties affecting text spacing include, line-height, word spacing, padding, margins, and text indent.
- Have your Maryland website design company use effective text formatting and bulleted lists. Eye tracking studies reveal users fixate longer on bulleted lists and other types of text formatting, including italics and bolding. Text styling tools garner attention and help break down information into manageable parts, highlighting important phrases and keywords.
- Because users skim web pages, Maryland web design experts structure your webpages with skimming in mind to improve usability. Make the first two words count—users tend to read only the first few words of headings, titles, and links when scanning a web page. Load your keywords in webpage titles, links, and headings. Avoid using the passive voice. Use the inverted pyramid style of writing—place the majority of important information near the top of articles, then supporting details, lastly related info.
- Don’t underestimate the power of visuals. Charts, photos, and graphics are extremely effective in enhancing readability when they replace or enhance text blocks. Eye tracking studies conducted prove that users pay closer attention to images that contain relevant information and the surrounding text. Have your Maryland website designer include images to support text content.
Please visit us online to learn more about Maryland website design. We offer more guides and tips. Your Maryland website design company is happy to lead you through the step-by-step process.
Erica Ronchetti works for Maryland Website Design, a Maryland website design company. If you have an interest in Maryland website development or would like to learn more about web design in MD, MDWD would be happy to provide more information.