Be Memorable, not Annoying (Part 3)

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playbill with too many fonts

The ad shown here does a couple of things to get attention but I?ll just focus on one. Can you count how many different fonts are used? A quick glace will find at least six. Each one of these is trying to get your attention. Unfortunately, they interfere with each other and make it hard to know which word or phrase is most important.

With all the fun and interesting fonts available it can be tempting to use them all. However, when you highlight everything, nothing stands out. So it goes with too many fonts. It is distracting and makes reading harder. And when the reading is hard, people are more likely to give up and go on to something else. If you want people to read what you have, stick to just two fonts?one for titles and one for content.

Having said that, there are other ways to take just two fonts and add some variety to make them stand out as needed. You can make something really important stand out using bold type or, as an alternative, use italics. You can also change the size, color, and/or background color to highlight a piece of text. Use these sparingly. As I mentioned before, when everything is highlighted (or otherwise emphasized), nothing stands out.

Unfortunately, for the web, there are only a few fonts that are visible in all browsers. The way around this is the use of images with the text in them. The problem there is that search engines can?t read images making your impressive titles invisible to them. I?m currently working on implementing a script that allows for the use of more fonts (There are many available.). More on this topic later.

Image from public domain at http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/lincolnconspiracy/playbill.jpg

Is WordPress worth looking at?

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I like to be able to make any changes a client wants to a website and be able to implement any design concept. WordPress limits that and was something that I avoided. When I found a large number of clients requiring WordPress, I decided to check it out some more. I was pleasantly surprised.

WordPress does more than make it easy to make a website?it provides a powerful, user-friendly content management system. You, the client, can make all sorts of changes to you website after the design is complete. You can add pages, content, images, blogs, etc. The drawback is that you are limited in what you can do design-wise. You will not be able to have the website look and behave exactly the way you want without more work.

Is WordPress worth looking at? It depends on your needs. If the ability to easily add and change content to your site, then it might be the way to go. If you want a unique website that will have your business (or personal) identity with less need for a content management system or don?t want to pay more to make a theme for WordPress, then a custom site could be better for you.

ANYANY (magazine), a New York-based architectural journal published from 1993 to 2000

Be Memorable, not Annoying (Part 2)

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This is just a short entry.

When you are choosing colors for text and background for your website or printed project, avoid colors that are too similar. High contrast is easier to read. While colors that are similar in color or contrast might fit your preferred design and company image, make the text easy to read and find other ways to incorporate the color scheme you want into the design. Take a look at these examples.

This is just a short entry.

This is just a short entry.

This is just a short entry.

This is just a short entry that is much easier to read.

This is just a short entry that is much easier to read.

This is just a short entry that is much easier to read.

This is just a short entry that is much easier to read.

These examples show how color can be used effectively with text as long as the contrast is great enough.

This is just a short entry that is much easier to read.

One last point is that, when the background is dark and the text light, making the text bold helps in readability.

 

The Wrong Way to Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

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Years ago I was told that, in order to get jobs, I should hide keywords in my online résumé by using white text on a white background. I was told that search engines and recruiters would see those extra words naming skills I didn?t have and want to hire me. I?m glad I never tried that. It?s dishonest and, these days, can get your website blacklisted.

My second encounter with bad search engine practices came when I was doing my first full-scale website for a class I was taking. I wanted to create a link that I could use to test something but that would not be noticed by any visitors. I hid a tiny piece of invisible text with a link to my experimental pages. In class I was told how big a mistake this was. Search engines would blacklist my site (which they did).

Getting noticed by search engines is so important that it has become its own type of business. Driving more traffic to a website dishonestly quickly became such a problem that search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.) have developed methods to discover sites that are dishonest and leave them out of searches completely?even if you deliberately search for that site. The best way to keep from being blacklisted is to be honest. Never try to serve one type of content to visitors and another to search engines. The programmers at Google, Yahoo, etc. are always working on new ways to catch people trying to trick their search engines. Don?t try to trick the search engines. They will find out and your website will disappear.

Be Memorable, not Annoying

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You know the commercials that repeat a phone number endlessly? ?555-5555. That?s 555-5555. Once again the number is 555-5555.? The reason they do that is that repetition increases the chances of remembering it. Unfortunately, it is usually remembered as annoying. So it goes with design.

Annoying is memorable but also brings dislike. For that reason design needs to make sure that repetition, or anything that catches attention, does not annoy. Other examples of eye-catching but annoying features are images that move, spin, flash, or rotate. In these cases, they get attention but keep it too long. It becomes too distracting while your visitor tries to view the rest of the page. And if too much is moving, spinning, etc, then nothing stands out. I?ll blog more on this topic of being memorable, not annoying.

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