Better conversions & credibility-based design: Avoid font clutter!

fontclutterIf you keep staring at your webpage trying to figure out what exactly is not quite right about it – have you considered the possibility of font clutter? Credibility based-design is crucial for a website’s success. You want your pages to look professional and clean. It only takes two seconds for an average web user to identify whether a site is trustworthy or not. The presence of many different fonts can easily spoil the first impression for someone coming to your site for the first time. They might not even know what drove them away from what you have to offer, and your site will never get a second chance. So, better get the font thing right!

Many designers follow the rule of three fonts per page. I suppose, you can get away with four, but that should be it. It is especially important not to have too many fonts show up above the fold. This may be a more difficult task that it seems at first. A website can have numerous creatives, including the ones that come from external ads. And you probably have “a special font” that you used for your logo. All these fonts count towards the number of fonts that you are allotted per page. You really don’t get to explain to the visitor that the logo graphic simply needs a curvy sans serif font, while the banner ad uses a Gothic style font to advertise a medieval combat game. Add to that the header, the tagline, the links and the body text – and the visual impact of the page is already in jeopardy.

What should you do? You need to make an inventory of the fonts on your landing webpage, and the website in general. Carefully examine the graphics and identify the font. If needed, use an online service to figure out what exact font is being used. You can also get a simple tool that lets you find out the font of any given line of text on any site. If you see your inventory list of fonts exceed three, it’s time to take action. Consider replacing some fonts with different typefaces from the same font family that you use more extensively. Also be cautious about overusing different styles of the same font (bold, italics, all caps) – that also amounts to font clutter.

And here is a bonus tip. Take before and after snapshots of your landing page. Compare the two to make sure that you indeed made some progress in reducing visual clutter on your website. How does it look? As long as you did not reduce the number of  fonts to just one boring sans serif font of the same size, the page should look just right!

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