Remember when your best friend told you about that hot new Italian restaurant in town?
They’d been droning on about it for weeks.
Chic décor. Decadent cuisine.
So you decided to see what all the fuss is about.
A waiter guides you to your table.
You nose around. Yep, cool crowd.
This is very you.
And then you lift up the menu ..
What a vain, popinjay of a font. What a chintzy menu.
If the food is this self-opinionated, you’re in the wrong place.
You make your excuses and skedaddle.
You won’t be coming back.
Okay, I’m not talking about a restaurant here, although this did happen to me once ..
I’m talking about how websites often get everything right ..
Then spoil the whole experience with the typography.
And despite all the selfies, TED Talks and cat videos, the web is still 95% words.
See, when we visit a new website, our eyes flit across the screen like autumn leaves blown across a driveway, asking ourselves:
- Does the site live up to its search engine results billing?
- Does the imagery and content look and feel professional or personal?
- Is this the place to solve our problem/buy the thing we are looking for/learn something new or be entertained for the next few hours?
Does the content/products/service look like it comes from a company or person we can trust — that others have trusted?
We answer these questions fast, with a surfer’s intuition burned so often as to ‘err’ on the side of caution.
And the clock is ticking ..
Not only does the page have to load fast (according to Kissmetrics, half web users expect a site to load in 2 seconds), but you’ve got to get your award winning pitch over — typically in words — across in the remaining 8 seconds or so.
And the question that drives all these micro-judgement is this one:
Is this website or blog worth reading?
Attention IS the reader’s gift to you.
Should you fail to be a respectful steward of that gift — it will be promptly revoked.
And if the font looks cheap.
If the body copy is a forbidding wall.
If there are too many clever pop up pick me distractions getting in the way of what might be a really great read, then that really great read will ‘really’ go unread.
And Google is watching.
Ranking sites not on their aesthetics but on things like bounce rate and dwell time, signals not just of quality content but a quality read.
SEO optimised content might be King, but the Queen is a reader.
And that impatient, time-poor, royal reader is mobile.
SO find that sweet spot where the font, layout, and design work together to serve up the perfect mobile reading experience and engage your website visitors with something you know they’ll love to read.