How many times do you click to a website you have not visited before to discover you are confronted with text you cannot read?
Sometimes the unreadable text is in fancy script rather than a font that is more readable. Sometimes the type size is too small and it is not worth your effort to locate how to manually make it bigger. Sometimes the background color is so dark (think black) that whatever color the text is does not show up clearly.
And sometimes, as I recently stumbled upon such a site, the text is bright pink — and very difficult to read.
How “beautiful” a site looks is totally unimportant if that “beautiful” design makes it difficult for me the consumer to read the information on the site and to navigate to the information that interests me most.
If pink is your favorite color and you want it on your website (and pink fits the context of what’s being offered on the site), then find a place to use the color that does not prevent easy reading. Maybe a pink border around the page content? Or a pink box for email signups?
This problem of making website text difficult to read does not just include colors. It includes all sorts of issues that can interfere with easily readable copy, such as paragraphs that run way too long without any break of white space to make it easier on the eye. Or copy that is understandable to you the website owner but totally unfathomable to someone new to your site.
I definitely believe in testing your website copy, but you do have to be careful. If you ask friends to read the home page copy, they will probably take their time and read the copy carefully. And then tell you it makes sense.
But to get accurate insights into the readability of your site copy, you need to ask strangers to “read” your home page copy. These strangers are much more likely to skim the copy quickly the way most people read on the web. Then check if these strangers truly understood what the copy was meant to convey.
If your budget does not extend to hiring a UX (user experience) consultant for your website, then read a book yourself and take an online course to check your assumptions against those of the people who study these issues.
You may be surprised to learn that pink is not the new black for website text.
(c) 2014 Miller Mosaic LLC
Phyllis Zimbler Miller is a digital marketer and aspiring data scientist. Learn more at www.linkedin.com/in/phylliszimblermiller