Why do so many websites have body text that’s too small and light?
It’s because the design of the site often looks nicer this way. The problem with this is that … Never mind! It’s really a good idea to make your site easy to read … Ok?
Here’s some things to keep in mind:
Reading off of the screen is about 25% slower than reading print. This might be a made up statistic that’s been repeated over and over, but there’s no question that the screen slows you down.
People are very impatient online. They want it and they want it NOW. If you make things hard for them they will leave.
Your body text should be in stark contrast to the background. Yellow type on a orange background? Sorry! Can’t read it.
Jakob Nielsen is widely considered to be The King of Web Usability. Notice how easy his site is to read? His links are also very clear. You can tell exactly where and what they are.
It’s probably not necessary to be quite as much of a purist as The King, but following the following will go a long way:
Seriously people don’t underline text unless it’s a link. It’s very best practice to make links blue since this has been a standard since the beginning of the web. Fine you don’t like that? Underlined blue links you can skip, but at least make them uniform.
Break up your copy. Not only is screen reading slower, it’s also much more of a strain on the peepers. Long, dense paragraphs don’t help, but white space is your friend.
Evaluate your site. Is it readable, or are you just driving people away? (bad)
Think about how when there’s words it’s nice to be able to read them. Yes, make words that are maximally readable. It’s just a good rule of thumb.