Home » Design » Readability

Category: Readability

screenshot of engineering company website

The way of avocado appliances

Every internet visit provides you an opportunity to analyze websites so you can improve your own. There is no shortage of material out there! Let’s take a look at an engineering company website I came across.

Web-sins of this site include:

  • Opening animation: First, only its name trickles in a letter at a time; then it explodes and resets itself (a letter at a time) in the upper left corner of the home page. Many visitors will not wait that long, and there goes a relationship opportunity and potential customer.
  • Poor readability: White text on black background is hard to read in large amounts. You don’t want to annoy your visitors so much that they don’t stay to read the text.
  • Also, the font is very small. You don’t want to strain your visitor’s eyesight—that does not recommend you.

Here are some ways this business could improve its website.

  • Tell the audience what you do. “Serving clients by developing efficient and creative solutions” does not say anything. Solutions for what? Sure, they’re an engineering firm, but what do they actually do? Can they help me? If a visitor does not feel you understand their problem, they won’t go to you for answers.
  • Don’t use opening animation. It has gone the way of avocado appliances. It makes you look old and out-of-touch.
  • Improve readability by using a larger font and use black text on a white background.  Would you want to work with a company that annoyed you?
  • Make sure all your links lead to valuable content. Check for dead ends. The potential customer may be thinking: If they don’t pay attention to details on their website, can they manage my multimillion dollar project?

Lesson of the Week:

Don’t remind them of Grandma’s kitchen—and don’t make it hard for Grandma to read your website.

Wait…what? When design trumps readability

Look at the photo and tell me the name of the company.

I asked my young-adult daughter to do the same, and she paused before hesitantly offering, “Northern & Machine Fab?” My son said:

At first glance, I read Northern Fab, LLC. Then I see & Machine, but Northern & Machine Fab, LLC, doesn’t make sense. So it must be Northern Fab & Machine, LLC. Is that right? I’m not sure; it’s not clear.

Is that your experience?

Today’s observation is about readability, an important element in sending out a clear message. At first glance, you may have seen “Northern Fab, LLC” because the typeface is attention-grabbing. After that, you may have noticed “& Machine” sandwiched in the middle. And that’s what is confusing. English is read from left to right, top to bottom. Therefore, we read, “Northern & Machine Fab, LLC.” Yet the font choices lead us to “Northern Fab.”

I can’t speak for the designer and the choices they made. Perhaps this arrangement fit their graphic better. Or they liked the compact size. Many decision choices go into designing a logo (see my process), but it’s important to blend both design and readability.