A website’s design greatly determines how a company presents itself online and, more importantly, engages the audience. Designers create legible, readable, and comprehensive content for one simple reason – to make sure that visitors stick around. Readability as one of the essential components of web design matters for the company’s success. People prefer engaging with web content that is clear, simple, and easy to understand. In other words, UI/UX design makes the websites approachable and contributes to attaining specific business goals. This article describes the importance of readability and explains how UI/UX designers can create readable content.
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Differentiating between readability and legibility is essential for creating high-quality web content. Legibility relates to how people see the content and distinguish its elements from one another. For example, legibility implies readers’ ability to see the characters and words. Adequate legibility is achieved through appropriate spacing, font choice, and color scheme. It allows users to read the content and understand its meaning.
Readability, in turn, is how easily users can perceive the content. Unlike legibility, it relates more to how people comprehend textual information. It deals with the simplicity of words, sentence constructions, logical flow, structure, etc. Readability depends on the following aspects:
- Clarity. The main idea of the text should always be simple and obvious.
- Сonciseness. Ideas should be presented in short but meaningful sentences.
- Usefulness. The content should be valuable for readers.
- Consistency. The website should be readable on all devices.
Exploring Multiple Benefits of Readability
A readable website is more likely to convert visitors. It attracts users with well-thought texts that are visually appealing and meaningful. In other words, your readers will have a better website experience when your content is readable. This can help establish a sense of trust and loyalty with your brand and help you communicate your values more effectively. However, there are other important benefits of readability you need to know:
- It improves your website’s SEO. Easy-to-understand, concise content organized in short paragraphs will increase your SEO rankings. These rankings consider readability statistics and place your website higher in the search results if readability statistics are satisfactory.
- It enhances voice search. Many people use voice search from Google, Siri, Alexa, and other AI assistants. If you want people to access your website through voice search, you need to make the context readable for the assistants.
- It decreases the bounce and exit rate. Lousy formatting scares people away, urging them to leave your website before even checking what you can offer. This problem is serious because users having a negative experience with your website will unlikely return.
- It increases return on investment for content marketing spending. Readability ensures that the money you invest in content creation is not wasted, and you get the desired results quickly.
How to Create Readable Content
Now that you know the importance of readability, let’s discuss how UI/UX designers can improve this parameter. First, it’s crucial to make sure that the design-related characteristics are enhanced. Let’s discuss some of these for more clarity:
- Background. The background color affects both the legibility and readability of the content. The wrong color scheme that causes eye pain can lead to a poor user experience. People spend many hours online, so you don’t want to become another reason they struggle with eye strain and eye fatigue. Moreover, if you want to add interactive content such as photos and videos in the background, make sure they don’t distract users.
- Typography. This word relates to all text-related parameters, such as font size, color, line length, alignment, spacing, contrast, etc. For example, the lack of contrast between the background and the text makes it difficult to discern the words. As a result, it affects readability. If the lines are too short, readers may struggle with comprehending the content. Short lines disrupt the smooth flow of the text. Furthermore, the text should be appropriately aligned, preferably from left to right. Justified and right alignment may negatively affect readability. To select the best typography, you may play with the text a bit. Change the parameters to determine what works best for your website.
- Visual hierarchy. Make sure your text aligns with how users’ brains work. Imagine you open a website. What do you do first? You don’t start reading the text right away – you scan it quickly (it may take just a few seconds) and then use the visual hierarchy to select the most important content. So, what is this hierarchy? In web design, it refers to how the visual elements are organized according to their degree of importance (e.g., headings, sub-headings). Designers use different fonts, sizes, colors, etc., to create a meaningful hierarchy that improves readability.
- Speak the language of your target audience. Readability relies heavily on the linguistic characteristics of the text. You need to adjust it to the educational level of your target audience. For example, if your website is created for healthcare professionals, it can use complex terminology. If teenagers are your target audience, make sure you speak in their language and don’t be afraid of slang and neologisms.
- Offer content customization. Readability is a subjective notion. Someone may struggle with understanding the text that others comprehend effortlessly. Allow your visitors to change the settings (e.g., font size, background color) according to their preferences. This feature will also help you build customer loyalty because people value personalization.
Readability strategies are not universal – they vary depending on the website content and, more importantly, users’ expectations and characteristics. Before asking designers to enhance readability, make sure you understand your target audience’s needs. You can also study your competitors’ websites and look for best practices online. The latter can serve as excellent inspirational materials to make your website readable and engaging. By designing your website with readability in mind, you can make the most of your online presence and achieve your business goals faster.