This topic comes up a lot in the forum, so today I thought I would tackle it out here. Hopefully this doesn’t ruffle any feathers because as always, Outdoor Blogging Tips are just suggestions, something to consider and do with as you please. In other words, lets not confuse this with the classic hands on the hip, “I love you…but let’s talk…”
As bloggers, it’s natural to hope for visitors/readers to visit our websites, engage AND return again for more of our good stuff. Fact is, if we didn’t care about visitors we would write about our experiences in a notebook at home. So when we look at blogs from a visitor viewpoint, it’s important to consider the experience they will have when they visit.
Designing a blog is a bit like decorating your own bedroom. To each their own. Personal style, a reflection of individual tastes, and likes come into play. On the whole, it’s a rather subjective endeavor, website design. But when it comes down to it, your content is ultimately what people visit your blog for and you don’t want them to leave because they can’t visually connect with your page.
Things to consider when designing a blog:
- Is the font size readable?
- Is the font reader friendly?
- Is your font hard to read because of the content background and font color choices?
Font Size: Small fonts are HARD to read. Even those with 20/20 vision will have difficulty reading a web font smaller than 14 for an extended period of time (like 1 minute) People with impaired eyesight will strain, squint and touch their noses to the screen to try to read small font. Or they will just leave.
Computer screens are harder to read versus paper because of their low resolution, so it’s a good idea to stick with the 14 point size. Anything less and you’ll have people reaching for their reading glasses or skipping your awesome content entirely.
Font Type: It’s not a good idea to get fancy with font. Stick with the basics, Sans Serif, Arial,Verdana, Georgia and so on. Fancy font can be used in your titles if you’d like to show some flair for style, but leave the actual content to a font you’d find in a book you buy or the newspaper. Plain and simple 14 pt = easy for the eye to follow.
Font and Content Backdrop, together: Ok, here it is…feathers. A presentation of your written content on black or dark background with a colored font is hard for a lot of people to read. Not all people, but a lot. Just writing the facts here folks. Don’t believe me? Please consult the higher power, Google it. =)
Think of it like this; From the time we were little tykes until now, people are visually accustomed to reading things like books, newspapers etc., with white-ish background, dark font. Our eyes and mind are hard wired to read dark letters on light backgrounds which is why a light background and dark font is the optimal set up for a blog.
When bloggers opt for the dark background and colored font, the readers eyes/mind have to shift and adjust. Using this visual combination to present blog content, can cause a negative effect (dizziness, eye strain, unable to see the letters properly) on a lot of readers. I won’t deny that a snap shot look at a website designed this way has a sense of wow, that looks cool factor, but on a reader level, it can leave a lot of people out and we don’t want that in blogging.
If you feel strongly about keeping your dark/black background you can help readers out by adhering to the suggested font size and keeping the font color a ‘one-off’ white. Colored fonts: blue, pink, teal, green etc, against a dark background is the toughest combination of all to pull off. Personally, for my eyes, I can’t read it. Or make that, I can read it (usually) but my 30-ish old eyes don’t enjoy it.
**Exception to the black background rule. Photography and Video based blogs can be showcased nicely with a black background. A photo or video is content that stands on its own from a visual factor and a black background will showcase or frame the focal point rather than detract from the overall user experience.
About the above and Individuality: When I consult with clients about their websites, this is what I tell them as a general rule of thumb. Your content is the center of attention, so let it shine on it’s own. You want your content to appeal to the largest possible audience so a presentation that doesn’t exclude or put off visitors is essential. Picture—Simple, plain, predictable, comfortable in the content box zone. (Content box is the space in which your writing resides)
From there, have fun. Let your personality shine in your header. Play with colors. Fancy up your sidebars. Use colored, or graphics in the site background. Add all the touches that represent you and you’ll have a site that is individually your own and couch friendly.