Whether you know it yet or not, your business is caught up in a readability race. A race to create the most accessible, legible, shareable and viral content. A race to find the perfect reading experience.
Here are five reasons why the race is on:
1) Reader Mode
The battleground – or stadium, if you will – for readability is small, just 4.7 inches tall and 2.64 inches wide.
2) Attention spans
Whether you sell electric toothbrushes, blue chip HR consulting or handmade dog collars, your target audience is distracted by so many other things to read and so many different ways to read them, perfect readability is the gift that keeps on giving.
3) A Flash in the pan
Despite all the gazillions spent over the years on snazzy branding, fancy images, and Flash animation, it is words that sell stuff, not the design.
4) Survival is survival of the fittest brand story
Like it or not, you’re a publisher – a brand storyteller – and your
customers readers are hardwired to know a real story when they see one.
5) Dwell time
Arch librarian Google – bean counting signals of readability like bounce rate and dwell time – gets to decide which stories are worth putting on the first page.
So where do you start?
Do you razor the current design or start over with a minimalist, content-first theme to beat Reader Mode to the punch?
Hire a copywriter to create and structure SEO-friendly content that keeps people scrolling long enough to get your sales pitch across?
Do you dust off the typography books and go font hunting?
All these things will work. But don’t jump the gun.
You need to start by reading the content your readers like to read, especially the content they prefer to talk about, rate, share, comment on and link to.
You need to assess the subject matter, the style and tone-of-voice, the key phrases and unique colloquialisms, even the fonts.
You need to build what’s called a Reader Persona.
Skip this step, you’re going to be running in the wrong direction.