Building a website is a series of choices. Sometimes, it is a seemingly endless series. Even the smallest design choices make a big difference to your site’s first impression. This makes it easy to get lost in the number of design choices you’ll need to make.
According to the latest statistics, it takes only 2.6 seconds for a user to fully form a conscious impression of your site. 0.5 seconds is all it takes to be put off by a website’s design, and 94% of the first impression is based on design and visuals.
The statistics speak for themselves. Every visual choice you make for your website and branding has a big impact on your customers. You wouldn’t choose a new VoIP sulution without proper research, so don’t do it with your font choice, either.
Is Font Choice Really That Important?
Every website has text, including calls to action, radial buttons, banners, and descriptive text. The fonts that you choose for your website will make up a large proportion of the content. With visuals being such an important part of web design, font choice becomes a priority.
Fonts aren’t just visually appealing. They’re also functional. The fonts you choose can make a big difference to the user experience on your website. Referring back to the stats we quoted earlier, 90% of users don’t return to a site after a bad experience.
Lack of readability or lack of accessibility features: both of them are design oversights that would lead to a bad user experience. It’s clear that no one would want to turn the majority of their customers away.
Whether you’re selling interior design objects, or operating a contact center as a service business, you’ll need to consider your fonts. The type of business you run and the message you want to convey will make a difference to your font choice as well.
Font Type or Typeface?
It might sound pedantic, but font type and typeface are actually two separate things. Fonts are individual styles, while a typeface is made up of a group of fonts. You can think of them as families. The typeface is the parent. The fonts are the kids.
For example, Sans Serif is a typeface characterized by a lack of accents (serifs) on the characters. But it’s made up of a number of fonts, such as Sans Serif Bold, Sans Serif Oblique, etc. It’s generally considered to be a more clean and minimalist style of typeface.
It will help you to make design choices if you match your typeface choice to your brand. What emotions do you want customers to associate with your site? Is your company more friendly and open, or stylish and chic?
There’s no right answer. Of course, only you know how you want to portray your business. The type of fonts you choose will convey certain characteristics to your customers, though – you cannot avoid it.
Instead, embrace it. Research what traditional font styles and typefaces are saying to customers. You could do your own market research, but there’s plenty of available material already out there.
How to Choose The Perfect Style For Your Website
There are a lot of factors that go into choosing fonts, and you shouldn’t rush into a decision. You wouldn’t make any other important choice for your business without looking at the potential costs and benefits.
You might have an internal style. You might even have commissioned a proprietary font for your brand: that doesn’t necessarily mean that these fonts will fit with your web design theme without some adjustment.
Knowing what to look for will help you make good design decisions. These are the top seven factors you should consider before making your choice.
1. Know Your Options
You need to be making informed decisions. Take a look at your available options. Take inspiration from existing styles. Take into account what your competitors are doing. Make sure you research a ton of fonts and figure out whether it will work with your web design.
You need to absorb as much information on your font and typeface options as you can. You also need to think about what parts of your site may need a different level of tone or clarity. Knowledge base articles will need a different style to your advertising copy, for example.
If you’re new to design, this can all seem a little daunting. There are software options and design apps that can help. Platforms like Attention Insight will analyze your marketing images and give you feedback on aspects like form and readability.
There are many other platforms and resources dedicated to web design that can help. Beginners should pay attention to the wider discussion around web design, as well as the details like font choice.
Even with different parts of your site needing different things, it’s important to maintain consistency. Staying within a typeface or typeface grouping, Even if you use multiple fonts, it’s advisable to stay within one typeface or a typeface group. The generally accepted “rule” is to have a primary, secondary, and tertiary font.
Your primary font should be directly associable with your brand identity. This will feature in your logos and headers and most of your promotional attention grabbers. This should be your most expressive and visually appealing font.
A secondary font is used for the main copy on your site, which is anything descriptive or informative. This should be clear, readable, and accessibility friendly. It should still be clearly related to your primary font, though.
Tertiary fonts are used for additional website elements, which include call to action prompts, radial buttons, anything that needs to be eye-catching and distinct but not the primary focus. You can give this font more flourish than a secondary font, but it should still stay readable and avoid clashing.
2. Readability, Visibility
Readability is vital to a good user experience. This includes being able to actually see the text against the other visual elements on your site. Some users prefer light backgrounds with dark text, others – the opposite.
Including a “dark mode” option, as seen in such apps as Twitter and Twitch, is a good practice. If you’re going to include multiple options, you need to make sure your font works in both styles. Always test your font choices for real use cases.
Creating a target consumer profile can help make sure you take users’ needs into account. Market research into your customer base, and their characteristics and habits, will help inform your choices.
3. Know Your Limits
Slow-loading websites are a huge detractor for customers. Sites that load in under 2.4 seconds see up to 10% lower bounce rates than those that take 3.3 seconds. Faster sites increase conversion rate ecommerce businesses have reported.
Font choice can actually make a difference to your site’s performance. When you’re dealing with margins of less than a second, it’s significant. Make sure your font is web-friendly. This just means that it translates easily for your website’s backend.
4. Prioritize Accessibility
Not considering accessibility is a common mistake with web design. Take your users’ needs into account, and they’ll have a better user experience. It’s a principle that will help with satisfaction for all your customers, not just those with specific limitations.
Considering those with more specific needs is also important. There are 300 million people worldwide with color blindness or color vision deficiency. Yet, many websites don’t consider whether their designs will be readable for this common but highly varied condition.
Still, there are many other less common conditions that may still affect a significant number of your users. The best way to ensure that you retain these customers is to listen to feedback. Take on board the difficulties that some users have and improve over time.
5. Consider Your Platforms
More than 50% of your users will view your site on mobile. The other half will mostly be on their desktop or tablet browser. Your font needs to be optimized and readable in all formats. You may need to sacrifice a little style for clarity if you’re scaling down logo images, etc.
There are automation testing strategies you can follow to make this process easier. After your initial design phase, converting to other formats without issue is made simple by automation.
7. Kern, Align, It’s All About Design
Now, we need to talk about the specifics of font design. If you’re choosing from a set typeface, then some of the work will be done for you. If you’re designing a font, though, you’ll need to start from the basics.
Kerning, leading, and tracking are the terms that cover the space between your letters, lines, and words, respectively. You’ll need to consider these carefully and test designs with simple A/B tests before proceeding.
The alignment of your text is how it will appear relative to the boundaries of the page. You’ll be familiar with left, central, and right alignment from any text document. These alignments also apply to your font and can convey a more or less formal tone.
You also need to consider what elements of your website you want to stand out. Consider a real-life use case. What do you want your customer to focus on? This will show you where you can use contrast to draw the eye.
It may not seem like it on the surface, but your font choice is as important as your choice of selecting the best cloud based phone system. It’s a decision that could affect your conversion rates, bounce rates, and customer retention.
UX design is a very detailed and varied discipline. Font choices should be part of this skil lset. You need both, aesthetic sense and practical knowledge, for a successful UX design. The more attention to detail you put into your web design, the more you’ll get out of it.