My Eyes! Web Readability

If you spend anytime at all on the internet, you surely have seen a myriad of different sites, all reflecting the product or the owner in some fashion. Websites and blogs are online residences. They offer their curb appeal as readily as the brick and mortar stores or the cottages in which we dwell.

Colors and fonts are the most requested input changes web-designers receive from clients. And is it any wonder? Both of these play such a pivotal role in site perception. The Muse is drawn to golden autumnal shades. My logo, headers and other trademark imagery is 90% in that color wave. Wanting my site and my blog to compliment that fact is only natural.

Blog Visibility - Eyesight and Blog Design - Aging Blog Readers - Pansylee VanMeteren Illustrator, Author, Poet, Songwriter Lyricst, Artist of WV - The Muse - Poetic Pastries

As you may know, the Muse site, Poetic Pastries is in the process of a major overhaul (yes, I know, it seems like we just did that!). With this revamping, the specifics of readability have been on my mind. There has been some trial and error, and some error and trial. And though, I have by no means finished tweaking this site (we all know I never will be, anyhow…) I feel compelled to share what I have experienced over the years and during this last “remodel”.

  • Typography or fonts – love them or hate them, they are a must! (at least until we are all mind-melded).

Long ago, when typewriters were clicking away, 10pt. was the standard rule. Truly, there weren’t any other options. These rigid styles and sizes represented total uniformity.  This age of print referred to this as typeface. And then one day the word processor was brought by aliens to this planet was invented and new “styles” of print face was at our fingertips. These lovely new fonts also could be ENLARGED. Wow, who could resist? ~ So, the world was inundated with CAPS and italics for a period of several millennia. At last the editors of the world had enough! They rose up and challenged the neophytes who dared tap…tap…tap (of course, the editors won, for we all know, they always do).

Over the years new fonts arose. Carved from stone, whittled in wood, etched from the creative minds of a new class of artist. The birth pangs of digital typography had begun. Just as with real life babies, some were cuter and nicer than others. It was inevitable. The little fonts who cracked mirrors, were cast aside. Quietly sent to their rooms without dinner. The kind fonts, the prettier ones, all began to find homes. They conformed, but not so much so, that they lost sight of who they were or what they were trying to convey. And the universe saw the rise of these fonts, and their offspring.

Selecting a font in today’s world is very much the same experience a child has in a candy shop, a mechanic has in a tool store or a woman in a shoe boutique. Our choices are numerous, perhaps overwhelming at times. We are limited only by the browser’s capability to relay our fonts to others.  So we nibble, we lick, we try-on, we squeeze the handle of each font till we find the one that is juuuuust right!

But is it, really? A perfect fit for me may not be a perfect fit for you. That’s right, we are still at a crossroads. The 10pt rule for typewriters carried itself for staunch souls in the computer age. ACK! My eyes, my eyes! 10pt is way to small for me and for most individuals. From the goodness of their hearts, browsers opened their doors to accept 12pt and we all rejoiced. Yet, quietly in the mountains there was an uprising brewing. They demanded to be heard and seen. Baby boomers gave aid and comfort to these soldiers. And offered them sanctuary. In return these independent, strong-willed, creative artists gave them 14pt and 16pt fonts; decorative, crisp, clean and readable. At last, a peace came over the land (albeit tenuous).

Here is where this chapter ends. I have told the tale and hope that you have learned well grasshopper reader. Perhaps, you are on the same path as the Muse; your blog or website is being tweaked, built or re-designed. If so, now is the time to find a font that works for your fans/customers/readers … but more importantly one you can live with!

(ps…I am still searching)

Pansylee VanMeteren Illustrator, Author, Poet, Songwriter Lyricst, Artist of WV - The Muse - Poetic Pastries

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