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Bad Web Design: Mistakes With Text
by Richard Lowe
Even in today's world of Flash animation, animated GIFs,
sound files, VRML and other dazzling special effects,
the basic reason why people surf the web is to read. Yes,
the pictures are great, and yes the animations are wonderful,
but what people really care about is what you've got to
That being said, it's so very important that you don't
destroy your message by presenting your text in ways that
discourage people from reading.
One of the most classic mistakes is to make your text
very small. After all, you've got a lot to say and you
want it to fit on one screen, right? So why not make it
as small as you can?
There are times when you want to make the text small.
A link at the bottom of your page to your privacy notice
is a good example. If someone wants to see this they will
find it. Otherwise, it's just something that you have
to put there.
Another mistake is to TYPE IN ALL UPPER CASE. This, fortunately,
is generally restricted to the newest of the newbies.
People soon learn that all caps does not mean "give
me your attention" on the web - it means shout in
your face. It's also a good way to get people to hit the
On the other hand, a very common problem is to make your
text a similar color to your background. If I run into
a page with everything like this I hit the back button
Thank god most people understand that blinking characters
are not cool (and not supported by Internet Explorer,
which is a good thing).
Something which I see all of the time is sites which use
non-standard fonts. I know that the special font which
you paid a hundred dollars for is awesome, but believe
me I'm not going to pay a hundred dollars just to see
your web site display correctly.
You can get away with this, if you include a button to
download the font and complete instructions for installing
it. Be sure to include an alternate, more common font
in your font list though, for those people who do not
want to download the correct one.
You can use downloadable fonts, but be aware that browser
support and standards are spotty at best. Even if you
do include downloadable fonts, be sure and specify alternates
in your tags just in case the browser did not do the download.
To sum it up, what I do is simple. I write my document,
then sit back from the screen about 4 feet. If I can still
read the text without trouble, then I ask my wife to do
the same thing. If we can both read it, then the document
is fine. Otherwise, something has to change.
About the Author
Richard Lowe Jr. is the webmaster of Internet Tips And
Secrets. This website includes over 1,000 free articles
to improve your internet profits, enjoyment and knowledge.
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