How Typography Affects Website Performance & Online Conversions | Alt Media Studios

How Typography Affects Website Performance & Online Conversions

WHAT IS TYPOGRAPHY & WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?

Typography is the art of type that adds personality and style to your text. The key elements of typography include font face, font size, line length, letter and line spacing, contrast, headings, and characteristics like bold and italicized type.

So why should you pay special attention to the typography design on your website? Typography is important to digital marketers because studies have shown that it has a powerful effect on your site visitors’ focus, comprehension, and perception of your content. As a result, the typography on your website can influence bounce rates, online conversions, and how consumers view your company.

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ELEMENTS OF WEBSITE TYPOGRAPHY THAT IMPACT SITE VISITORS

SCANNABILITY

Attention spans continue to dwindle. Scientific studies have shown that most of us only scroll through half of the content on a web page, if that. But even before we start reading content, we tend to first scan the page as a whole, taking note of how the information is presented, the size of the letters, the lengths of the lines, etc. Then we subconsciously judge whether or not the content is relevant to us and if it’s worth reading.

How to improve the scanNability of your website:

  • Use descriptive headings and subheadings. Headings should give a clear picture of the content of the text. Subheadings should separate paragraphs into sections based on the subtopics discussed.
  • Avoid large chunks of text. Break up long paragraphs into shorter sections. 
  • Skillfully use bold and/or italicized type to emphasize main points. Do so sparingly. Overuse of bold or italicized type looks unprofessional and is more difficult to scan.
  • Use lists to summarize information. Numbered or bullet lists provide a quick, clear, and concise overview of existing information.

READABILITY

The 2018 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) established that about 13% of adult Americans reported having vision problems¹. That means that roughly 1 out of every 8 adults visiting your business’ website has difficulty seeing. Moreover, the CDC reports that “vision disability is one of the top 10 disabilities among adults 18 years and older.”² Numerous studies have shown that people take action more quickly when those actions require less effort. So the easier your site is to read, the higher the likelihood that consumers will be motivated to convert.

Typography done right can also make it easier for readers to process and understand the information you’re trying to convey—and vice versa. Copy that is well-formatted ensures that the reader stays focused on the content. You want readers to remember your message and call-to-action, not the typeface.

How to improve the readability of your website:

  • Choose a legible typeface. It’s best to use a Sans Serif font for the main body of the text and reserve Serif fonts for headings. 
  • Limit the number of fonts on your website. Two or three fonts is plenty; less is more.
  • Use a large enough font size. Usability experts recommend a minimum of 16 pixels, which is comparable to 12-point font size for printed text³.
  • Use appropriate line length. Lines that are too short disrupt the reader’s flow as they constantly shift their eyes from one line to another. Lines that are too long require more mental effort to remain focused on the content.
  • Use good contrast between the text and the background. Too little contrast makes the text difficult to read, while too much contrast can strain the eyes.
  • Optimize your site for mobile devices. A responsive web design will dynamically adjust the font size, heading size, and the number of words per line based on the available screen width.
  • Don’t use all-caps in the main text or capitalize the first letter of every word. 90% of the text that people read online is in lowercase
  • Use appropriate letter spacing. Letters that are cramped and crowded together can leave your readers frustrated and confused.

PERCEPTION

Interestingly, the typography on your website also influences how users interpret your marketing messages and view your brand. Consider one 2012 experiment performed by Errol Morris. 40,000 participants were presented with a passage from David Deutsch’s book The Beginning of Infinity. After reading the passage, readers were asked two simple yes-or-no questions:

  • Do you support Duetsch’s claim?
  • How confident are you in your answer?

However, Morris was not interested in what people thought about Deutsch’s claim. He wanted to know if the typeface of the passage would influence whether or not the readers perceived the information as credible. The same passage was presented in six typefaces:

      1. Baskerville
      2. Helvetica
      3. Comic Sans
      4. Computer Modern
      5. Georgia
      6. Trebuchet

What were the results? Statements in Comic Sans and Helvetica inspired the highest amount of disagreement. Meanwhile, people were more likely to agree with the statement when it was presented in Baskerville.

So does this mean that Baskerville is a magical font that will always convince your readers? No. However, in this situation, Baskerville did look and feel more formal, which made Deutsch’s statement more authoritative. The takeaway is clear: the fonts you select for your website, social media images, and marketing materials can have a surprisingly profound psychological impact on your potential customers. Typography not only affects whether or not users will read and engage with your content - it also has the power to influence whether or not they will view your business as credible and trustworthy and if they’ll agree with your company values.

CHOOSE ALT MEDIA STUDIOS FOR EXPERT WEB DESIGN & A/B TESTING

Is your website content easy for users to scan, read, and understand? Does your website typography impart the right amount of authority and create the right associations in the minds of your site visitors? If you’re unsure, how can you find out? The answers lie in A/B testing. Rather than making arbitrary assumptions about how you think your website typography is affecting online conversions, your best bet is to perform data-driven, unbiased tests on elements such as typefaces, font sizes, content formatting, etc. The winner of your tests will be the element that clearly correlates with the most conversions. No idea where to start with A/B testing? Partner with our team here at Alt Media Studios for expert web design and A/B testing that will optimize your conversion rates and help your business thrive online!


¹ https://www.afb.org/research-and-initiatives/statistics

² https://www.cdc.gov/visionhealth/basics/ced/fastfacts.htm#:~:text=Approximately%2012%20million%20people%2040,due%20to%20uncorrected%20refractive%20error

³ https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2011/10/16-pixels-body-copy-anything-less-costly-mistake/ 

⁴ https://neilpatel.com/blog/how-typography-affects-conversions/ 

⁵ https://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/08/08/hear-all-ye-people-hearken-o-earth/ 

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