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’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).
I’m a fan of simple layouts and one of my constant gripes is product pages on eCommerce websites. I just don’t understand why shop owners feel the need to cram endless pieces of twaddle onto their product pages. I want a price and a big buy now button at the very top of the page. Make it big enough for fat fingers to press it on a mobile device, clearly look like it is click-able, and make it the colour of “action”.
Product options & sales opportunities
I understand the need to supply a colour or size choice, or cross-sell and upsell other products, in case this product isn’t quite what the buyer is looking for. There is however research about the optimal number of choices a brain can handle.
Make it easy for buyers – contrary to popular opinion users are not necessarily stupid, they might just be suffering from overload. Kara Pernice (a UX expert) describes it as “flooded with stimuli…” at “every moment” so the user may choose to use ‘selective attention’ to focus on just what they are looking for.
Terms of sale & delivery information
I know that some buyers will need to read the terms & conditions in full before they will tick the box to agree to purchase. I like to check what delivery is going to cost me and even read a review or two to make sure that the product is the superb quality that the product description promises me it is going to be.
This is all secondary information to the primary call-to-action, which unless you are deliberately trying to go out of business… is to sell something!