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Typography on the Web: A Contrast to Design Trends

Typography on the Web: A Contrast to Design Trends

The advancements of web technologies over the past decade have allowed for a much more vibrant experience; both for designers and developers architecting websites, as well as for the end user who views and interacts with those websites. The options for fonts, and available web colors have especially evolved over time, allowing for a broader spectrum of how text-based content can be displayed on a web page. The unfortunate side effects this has caused, are design trends that have steered in a direction away from core principles of typography, readability, and accessibility.

The web was created to make text legible, and readable: Pure black text on pure white background; deep blue links on pure white background; deep purple for visited links on pure white background. As more web colors were available to newer browsers, and monitors, designers have been experimenting with new color options to help set their websites, or brands apart from the rest.

While new options can certainly a good thing, over time the concepts of readability, and contrast have fallen by the wayside. It is crucial to design a website so that all text has the appropriate amount of color contrast between foreground, and background to ensure that it complies with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0, at least the AA contrast ratio standard. The best a website can achieve is the AAA standard, but a vast majority of websites on the Internet will not pass the AAA contrast check.

Things have changed for the font tools available as well. Designers have sought to explore more possibilities on how to elegantly display text, with more options of stylized fonts. Before the era of Google Fonts, there were various image, Flash, or other replacement options for text to display outside of the core web fonts available. The tools available now are considerably better, but caution must still be taken when selecting fonts. A designer can pore over various fonts to find one “cool” enough for their site. But, do they consider every kind of user that will be trying to read that font? What is “cool” to a designer, may be difficult to read for an average website user.

The weight of the fonts used on a website are also extremely important – a thinner font weight can be more difficult to read, while a bolder font weight may be too overbearing for most users to even bother reading. Selecting an elegant font that is still close enough to the standard fonts that have been around forever is a vital part of conveying whatever message your website is stating. When tying this together with the colors selected, the contrast of the font on its background is one of the most important aspects of readability, and accessibility.

Even if the contrast of text on a web page looks good to a designer in their perfect settings, caution must also be taken to consider that not all users have the same vision, and not all users have the same brightness, and contrast settings on their devices. Finding the right balance in a design’s standard brightness, as well as when viewed at a lower brightness setting, is beneficial to ensuring users remained engaged with your site. If a user cannot read something, your message is lost, and likely that user is also lost. Keep typography readable, and keep your users reading.

I, Robot…you, Informed

I, Robot…you, Informed

Easily one of the more overlooked tools in any SEO arsenal. A Robots.txt file is not so much the road map that a sitemap is but more the footnotes of your website.

“What is robots.txt?” you ask?

The robots.txt file is a text file that instructs the search engine robots on how to crawl pages on the website. The robots.txt file is a part of the the robots exclusion protocol (REP) – a group of rules that regulate how robots crawl, access and index content. The REP also includes things like meta robot tags and explains how search engines should treat links, such as “follow” or “nofollow”.

SEO | robots.txt | Alpine Design

 

All robots.txt rules result in one of the following three outcomes:

  • Full allow: All content may be crawled.
  • Full disallow: No content may be crawled.
  • Conditional allow: The directives in the robots.txt determine the ability to crawl certain content.

General must-knows about robots.txt:

  • In order to be found, the robots.txt file must be placed in a website’s top-level directory
  • Robots.txt is case-sensitive: file must be named “robots.txt” (not Robots.txt, robots.TXT, etc).
  • It’s a best practice to indicate the location of a sitemap associated with this domain at the bottom of the robots.txt file.
  • Improper usage of the robots.txt file can hurt your ranking (An incorrect robots.txt file can block search engines from indexing your page)
  • The robots.txt file controls how search engine spiders see and interact with your web pages however some robots may choose to ignore your robots.txt file
Psychology of UX Design

Psychology of UX Design

 

The process of establishing the color scheme of a fresh website is vital to the integrity, usability, and success of that website. Selecting colors that fit a brand, evoke the intended emotion, and give users a comfortable experience is a major factor in the lifespan of a website, no matter its ultimate goal.

The branding, and nature of a website are important, but careful attention must still be paid to the end user, and how you want them to feel as they journey through a website. The psychology of color plays a key role in the decisions made to advance, and retain that journey for your users. Choosing a certain color for a link, or the color of that link as a user hovers their mouse on it, can explain a lot about what you want that user to do, or what they want to do. The selected colors must also be matched against others that have enough contrast to comply with web accessibility standards. All of these factors come together to define a design with colors that are fitting to the needs of the world you intend to create on the Internet.

Digital Web Design and Branding | Alpine Design
Source: UX Planet

 

In regard to the most liked, and most disliked colors by men, and women. When you look at general photos of Earth, you see three main colors: Blue (water), green (grass, trees), brown (earth). These are the core colors of the environment we live in. Blue is a calming color, just as water often creates a calm feeling. Green is a lively color, just as lush grass, and trees thick with leaves create a sense of life. Both of those colors show up in the most liked colors for both men, and women. Brown barely makes an appearance in that chart, but is the most commonly disliked color by both of those genders. Brown does not often create a sense of comfort, and can remind people of dirt, of mud, and of another nameless substance humans are all too familiar with. However, that is not to say it cannot be used in ways that still give users a sense of comfort, and belonging as they are guided through a website. The color choice is crucial, but the strategy, and approach to using them certainly plays a significant role.

Google’s Need for Speed

Google’s Need for Speed

Not yet one month into 2018 and Google has already announced a pretty substantial Algorithm update. Simply being called “Speed Update” and it harkens back to 2010 when Google announced that page speed was a factor, but back then it was primarily speaking in terms of desktop search queries.

 

This new update rolling out in July, now takes a closer look at website’s mobile page speed and although it will only affect a small portion of search results it’s still a glimpse into the future of UX website design

 

Google’s Zhiheng Wang and Doantam Phan elaborate:

“The “Speed Update,” as we’re calling it, will only affect pages that deliver the slowest experience to users and will only affect a small percentage of queries. It applies the same standard to all pages, regardless of the technology used to build the page. The intent of the search query is still a very strong signal, so a slow page may still rank highly if it has great, relevant content.”

 

Wang and Phan caution website owners not to sacrifice relevance in the name of faster web pages. It stands to reason that a mobile page with a faster loading time will garner favoritism in 2018’s search results but fresh relevant content will always prevail.

 

There are many online tools available to test page speed such as Pingdom page speed test at our disposal, so providing lightning fast relevant content to the Google gods has never been easier.

Here at Alpine we’re ready for 2018 and all Google has in store for us, are you?