Website Readability: What Font Size? Line Width? Line Height? Six Key Website Design Guidelines

Human eyeMost websites and blogs have smaller text sizes than I use here on theWebalyst.com. I chose this font size and page width because it felt readable. Evenso, I was about to bring it into line with most other websites by reduding the text size, and then I read a short informative article on website and blog readability, by D. Bnonn Tennant. In it he presents some valuable website design and readability guidelines, which I’ve listed for you below.

Website Readability Improves Conversion & Referrals

These design guidelines are proven to improve readability, and if people find your website easy to read they’re more likely to read, respond to, and share your content.

So what are the design guidelines to make your website readable?

Website Readability Guidelines

I recommend that you check your website against each of these points:

  1. Font Size at least 16px. This text is 16px, and according to Bnonn, this is what web browsers were designed to display. Yet most websites use 12px. What about yours?
  2. Line Width 45 to 75 characters. These lines are 70-80 characters which makes it easy to track back to the left as you move from one line to the next.
  3. Line Height at least 130%. This is 150%.
  4. Left Margin should not be broken. Left aligning images disrupts the all important start of each new line.
  5. Drop Capitals at the start of a page. This has been demonstrated to increase readership.
  6. Dark Text On A Light Background: it is hard to read light text on a dark background.

How Does Your Website Do?

Bnonn’s guidelines support my “gut” choices for this website, so now I’m sticking with them, and sharing this with you so you can improve your website with this invaluable information. I’m curious though. How does your website compare and how did you choose these factors?

The only points I miss from the above list are having some left-aligned images and not using drop caps. But I think using an image top left of a post, my main “sin”, acts like a drop cap to encourage the user’s eye to the start of the text. So I’m not sure I will change this. Do you agree?

Do you have any other points to improve website readability?

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