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Ignore Design Fads to Keep Your Blog Readable

Posted on August 20, 2007 by Blog Design Journal

Roger Black, the legendary designer of the New York Times, Rolling Stone, and other world-famous publications, said that black on white, with touches of red, was the best color combination if you want the largest readership. He could cite extensive (and expensive) research to prove that. When he moved to the Web, he found that the same thing was true.

But graphic designers and web designers are creatures of fashion. They can’t resist following the latest design trends order to look cool—even when those trends seriously impair readability. And those who imitate them blindly follow whatever they do.

Lately it seems that most new web sites and blogs are using gray type. Don’t they want people to read their content? Don’t they know that content is king? Apparently not.

Many people still seem to feel that looking trendy is the heart of good design for the Web. They’re wrong. It’s readability.

You have just a few seconds for a new visitor to decide whether to read your content or click away. In [tag-tec]blog design[/tag-tec], the key to keeping visitors is drawing them into the content immediately. For that to happen, the content has to be easy to read.

Gray type on white is harder to read than black on white. And lately I’m seeing gray type on gray or blue backgrounds—even gray on orange or gray on yellow. Net result: You can’t read it! No matter how pretty, that’s bad [tag-tec]blog design[/tag-tec].

Oh, sure, if I zoomed in on it, I could puzzle it out, but why bother? There are a billion web sites and blogs competing for readership on the Internet. Sometimes millions on the same topic. All Internet users know that. So why should we strain our eyes to read your blog?

I’ve even seen forms that the site owner presumably wants filled out accurately—with tiny gray type on a gray background. If I can’t read what I’m entering, I’m sure to make mistakes. It’s just common sense.

And speaking of common sense—and uncommon design sense—black type on white is the easiest color combination to read. Stick with it if you want your site to be a success.

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