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Website Critique – Readability??

  • # May 10, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    Hi all. I’m putting together a website for a new medical marijuana clinic. We’re just about done with the basic website just to get it launched after we finish the content and clean up the validation errors, etc, and then we’ll go back and begin adding things later.

    Here’s the URL: tamsclinic.com/newsite

    One issue I’m having is the person who is setting up the clinic has someone who does a lot of advertising and marketing in print, and her argument is that we need to make all of the pages 2 or 3 columns and that no one is going to read a page that flows down as one block of content.

    So, I’d like to ask – is this readable and would it be beneficial to increase the font-size, font-weight or something like that?

    Web trends are clearly different than print trends, and I’ve never had someone tell me what this person is telling me as I’ve never sat back and said, “Ugh, I hate this wide column of information!” nor have I ever heard of it. Personally I think it’s easier to follow the flow of information. I’m looking for some kind of research documentation to support either argument. Any suggestions on that front??

    # May 10, 2011 at 7:42 pm

    In terms of readability, I’d say it’s a touch wide. It’s very apparent on the FAQs page.

    You should be aiming for around 65 characters per line, in my opinion. Right now you are hitting around double that figure.

    You could add a sidebar to the page, perhaps with related links or some other things. That would reduce the total content area of the page. 960px is just too wide for content only though.

    # May 10, 2011 at 8:01 pm

    I don’t take any issue reading the content on this site.

    @TheDoc makes a point that can be backed up by evidence… sort of. Many people do follow a principle of about 45-70 or so characters per line on the web, but it’s sort of debatable whether or not that figure is really the most ideal choice. While some “studies” suggest 45-70 characters is the ideal line length, other studies demonstrate that readers digest longer lines more quickly. There probably is some sort of ideal range, but it more likely has to do with other factors such as line-height/text size.

    I’ve written just a bit on this here (point 3): http://www.uxbooth.com/blog/4-tips-and-tricks-for-more-legible-content/

    Here are two supporting bits that offer contrasting data:
    http://www.nbcs.rutgers.edu/~hedrick/typography/typography.janson-syntax.107514.pdf
    http://blog.fawny.org/2005/09/21/measures/

    (There are several more free resources out there that I’ve stumbled across that also seem to suggest there isn’t really a magic number.)

    If there is a really well done study out there on the subject, I’d love to see it! Most of what I’ve seen is pretty… flimsy.

    # May 11, 2011 at 2:00 am

    Thanks for the response guys. What I ended up doing was trying to break the content up a little bit. I used a little content switching script for the Process to give the page a legit sidebar. On the FAQ I tried to put the questions on the left and the answers on the right. Does it seem to have improved it??

    # May 11, 2011 at 11:33 am

    FAQs look much better, Josh.

    # May 12, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    I went to comment on this post but I forgot what I was going to say. I can’t even remember why!

    Wait a second….

    # May 12, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    JK…

    I really dig the site Josh! Love all the custom yet minimal scripting you’ve done, as well. Elegant and clean, not intrusive but still engaging. Good job!

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