Type is the most important design element on a Web Page. Visitors click through to a site because they are interested in consuming information – not just looking at pretty pictures. Layout and choice of graphics help set the tone, reinforce the story and direct the user’s attention, but content is the star.
Web layouts should be designed for the reader. The reader’s ability to easily digest your content determines the success of your site.
When planning your content, think of ways to break it apart into consumable pieces: headlines, sub heads, short paragraphs and featured lists. Consider which pieces of text are the most important; you may want these items displayed in a larger size or a distinct font. Examine the ratio of sizes between different types of copy, like paragraphs and sub heads. What is the optimum ratio for readability? How much space should there be between individual lines of text?
Typography is a system in which all elements, from headlines to pull-quotes, work together to create a harmonious, easy-to-read layout. Your website’s typography must support the tone and message you are attempting to convey to prospects. The right font can be elegant and professional – and almost unnoticeable – but a bad pick can make a site look sloppy and unfinished.
Your font system should:
Capture your firm’s personality. Different fonts tell a story in much different ways. Large, extended, extra-bold fonts exude power, while thinner, condensed fonts convey a fresh, modern look.
Be tested online. A variety of tools are available online to help you visualize how different fonts will interact. Tiff (http://tiff.herokuapp.com/) allows you to compare two fonts side by side. The Web Font Combinator (http://font-combinator.com/) shows the relationship between different headline, sub head and body fonts. Seeing how a font will actually look online in various sizes and when paired with an array of options is an easy way to enhance your site’s design and effectiveness from the beginning.
Make use of non-standard fonts when appropriate. Designers are no longer limited to a small choice of browser-safe fonts. Web fonts are available from several providers, giving designers access to tens of thousands of options. Fonts differ from each other in subtle ways, and even a slight variation in weight or serif style can change the look and feel of a site entirely. But many attorney websites still use only the same standard fonts. Take advantage of the range of options and find the perfect fit.
Be formatted for easy readability. Visitors do not interact with Web Pages as they do print pages. People scan websites, jumping from one bit of copy to another in a non-linear fashion. Long, unbroken paragraphs make pages difficult to scan and discourage readers from staying on a site. Users will also find it arduous to read type that is too small or awkwardly placed.
Work with your graphics. Serious images of people harmed by injury do not mix with lighthearted display fonts. A disconnect between graphic styles and font styles creates an unpleasant experience for visitors.
Content is integral to a website’s design, and typography choices should reflect the elemental role of text. Design your copy to be read, and use it to showcase you’re firm’s talents and personality.