I have spent literally hours online recently trying to find an easy to use video tool that anyone can use and that doesn’t cost the earth. I really only wanted a couple of basic things: the ability to upload my own images (multiple) or footage, the ability to add text over the top of images, and the ability to download as an MP4 without losing resolution or the video being resized. That’s not really a lot to ask…. or so I thought….[Read more…] about Kapwing Online Video Tool
Setting colour aside, do you know what your font says about your company? Fonts can have a gender bias, an age slant and tone of voice.
A font can have tone of voice, I hear you say? Definitely. There are big shouty salesy fonts, clean clear professional fonts and friendly approachable fonts – here are just a few examples of fonts that are similar to well known brand logos – can you recognise them?
Loud fonts that sell products:
Clean clear professional fonts:
Friendly, approachable fonts:
Fonts for body copy
For corporate branding you not only need a font for your logo but you need a compatible heading & body font to carry through all of your marketing materials (and ideally every document that is generated by the company) to keep branding consistent.
Here the choice can be restricted by the output; for the website you can use a web-safe font or you will need a web font service like Google Fonts or Typekit to render the fonts correctly across visitor’s browsers.
For print purposes, it can be better to choose a font that is designed specifically for print, like Times New Roman or Garamond, Verdana and Helvetica (the latter, incidentally, look great onscreen too though any designer will groan inwardly when you recommend them).
Serif or sans-serif? The choice is yours
From a branding standpoint, the choice between a serif and sans-serif font can be straightforward but there is another consideration; legibility. On which font type is more legible onscreen, the research sits on the fence. It could be down to personal preference.
Legibility research is inconclusive as to whether serif fonts are truly better than sans serif.” – Nielsen Norman Group
Ideal font size
A more important choice in my opinion is what size fonts you are going to use. I am a big fan of clear type – although I have the best eyesight of any of my family members, I am fully aware of how difficult it can be for them to read text onscreen or off.
Regular print is 10-12 points in text documents, according to RNIB, but I have seen designers go right down to 8 or even 6 points for small print – and I’ve watched many a customer squint to read it!
One of my favourite copywriting gurus is D Bnonn Tennant and he suggests a minimum 16 pixels for online body copy.
I know what you’re thinking. “Did he just say 16 pixels? For body copy? Obnoxiously big! 12 pixels is ideal for most websites.” I’d like to persuade you otherwise…..” – D Bnonn Tennant
Of course, there are other considerations when writing, particularly online, like line spacing, paragraphs and headings, but my gut feeling is ‘why make it difficult for your customers to read your text?!’ What kind of message does that send to your customer?
I’ve done two SEO reports within the last couple of months for businesses in two different industries and both of them had serious page load issues. This can have a serious knock on effect for both SEO and engagement or conversion.
Optimise web images
Site 1, a luxury travel brand, had used big glossy images all over the site. They had the big splash banners that are so beloved by website designers and some lovely person had uploaded full-size high resolution images. The website didn’t have any image resizing software installed so the consequence was that each page took over 7 seconds to load. Optimising images is a complex task, but as a simple rule of thumb the image should be saved to web (72dpi) and not print resolution (300dpi).
Minimise site files
Search engine ranking factor
Site speed is a key search engine ranking factor, cited as one of the top five ranking factors in 2015 by SEO experts. In addition to this, users will click away from the site if a page takes too long to load. There is research to demonstrate the drop off rate can be as dramatic as 11% in a second. As engagement with pages is also a ranking factor, it is well worth checking your site to ensure that your pages are optimised to their best. Not least to prevent loss of custom.
I’m interested to read the UX professionals survey by NN Group as they advocate the use of round tables with the business owner to review the initial designs and pick and choose the best of each design. In my experience, this doesn’t result in a cohesive whole. Many of the designers I have worked with have not been given credence by the business owner to use their expertise and bring the best result. They have been forced to use a number of elements from different designs in one, making the end result less than a choice of one of the original designs.
Website agency collaboration
On the other hand, I am wholeheartedly in agreement with the suggestions that UX designers should work together with other members of their team – project managers, business analysts or account managers, marketing AND technical development staff to ensure that the options that they share with a business owner, either remotely or in a presentation meeting, are checked for usability and errors before sharing them with the client. It’s always useful to bounce ideas off other creatives and the rest of the team. And it is crucial for designs (and software) to be tested internally and in user testing. This has become much easier to do with online creative tools and user testing services.
UX design expertise
In both cases, though, too many cooks can spoil the broth and the collaborators do need to bow to the knowledge of the key decision maker, in this case, the UX designer.
Let’s overlook the obvious first check to make, which is how many people are visiting that page, and take a quick look at another issue that might be the cause.
I tried to sign up this morning to a good cause – it had quite an unusual spam check, I thought – the email newsletter sign up had a range slider bar. The user has to slide the slider to the right to unlock the sign up form and be able to submit it. Except the slider doesn’t work on Android devices… To select the active state and slide, you need to long press, which opens the new link dialogue with the open link, open link in a new window, etc options.
Spam protection holds it up
We’ve all experienced someone getting hold of our business contact forms and spamming us to death with hundreds or thousands of emails, hence the need for this kind of spam protection. However, we do need to be sure that the method we choose to protect our forms is still valid from a usability point of view. There are plenty of ways to validate a new user on an email sign up form that don’t prevent genuine users who are trying to engage with your business from signing up.
It is also worth testing your email sign up on as many devices as you can (assuming your web design agency hasn’t already done this).
In response to security concerns of SSL 3.0 vulnerability to Poodle attack, Sagepay are upgrading their system and subsequently have announced they won’t be supporting Internet Explorer 8 and older from the 2nd December. Does this really matter when these users make up less than 5% of the global users in 2015?
Biggest payment processing providers in the UK
It made me wonder who are the biggest payment providers in the UK and whether they offer services to older browser users. I can’t blame them for not supporting every legacy browser, especially if it makes them vulnerable, as security is their priority, but is it a real possibility that IE6, 7 & 8 users will soon see a day when they can’t pay for anything online?
The largest payment processors in the UK are likely to be Worldpay (+-40%), Barclays (+-20%), Global Payments who bought out HSBC’s merchant services (Global Iris and GP Webpay, +-20%) and Paypal (+-20%). Sagepay is a small but growing member of this band. Worldpay offer limited browser compatibility for IE8 but full compatibility from IE9+, Barclays appears to be IE9+, Sagepay (from December) IE9+, and though I can’t find a browser compatibility list for Global Payments or Paypal, Paypal ended community support for IE8 in July 2015 and the forums are full of users who find the pages don’t work in older IE versions.
So yes, this could be a real problem for older browser users. What can be done about it? For the consumer, upgrade your Internet Explorer (at cost) or download a free modern browser (Chrome or Firefox). For a shop owner, some kind of message along the lines of ‘these payment pages work best in IE9 and above, we recommend you upgrade’ would help users.