Typography for the web

If you write something for a website you want it to be read. To make the text as easy as possible to read on a computer screen there are a few basic rules to follow.

Reading on a backlit computer screen can be tricky for a number of reasons. A few simple rules of thumb can help make the task easier.

Make the font size big enough to read. Simple really but so many sites still use small type that is difficult to read. Monitors are big and there is plenty of room so there is no need to use tiny type. Also, remember to make sure that the length of the line isn’t so long that the user struggles to find the beginning of the next line.

Give the text enough room. White space helps the user to read the text. It allows them to focus on the task and reduces the stress if there is ‘quiet’ surrounding it. The same can be said for the space between the lines – line height. Leave enough but don’t make it so ‘loose’ that it doesn’t hang together.

Paragraph spacing. Break long texts up into paragraphs and leave space between them. Most people scan the page without reading every word. Breaking the text up helps the reader scan the page better and they can obviously read the whole article too if they want!

Contrast. Make sure the contrast is such that the text can be seen. This applies to people with poor eyesight. The contrast should be around 4.5:1 according to the W3C. This applies to text on imagery too, so make sure that any background image that is to have text on it, is appropriate and doesn’t hinder the readability


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