Every few days Sleep Centre's content is expanded with newly archived conversations. Last week was a little different because we also reduced Sleep Centre's clutter and increased its readability.
Sleep Centre attracts Mac users having problems with batteries, power management, and other energy woes. To that extent it does well — thousands of visitors every month discover an answer and DssW for the first time.
Offering a hand of friendship (flickr:delcimgp)
What happens next is important; I want our visitors to find answers and gain trust in DssW. The best outcome is a new visitor seeing our software and buying on impulse. But straining for instant customers quickly alienates anyone not immediately won over. Hardly the solid foundation to build a business on.
Seth Godin, a notable marketing consultant and enjoyable public speaker, recently commented on increasing font size for the sake of readability. It feels like an easy decision.
If you are reading this on the DssW blog, this is your browser's default font size — big isn't it? This is the size your browser designer's found easiest on the eye. Yet most sites still deliberately reduce the font size.
Part of this font shrinking behaviour is historic but changing that behaviour will not be easy.
Regrettably there is a strong argument that will hamper Seth's message for web designers, Google Adsense.
We use Google Adsense to recoup DssW's server costs through limited adverts within Sleep Centre. It worked well for us, until the last design tweak. Google does not let you change the font size of its adverts. Advice to those wanting to maximise advert income is to match Google's tiny 9px — 12px fonts.
This is a sample of a 9px font.
This is a sample your browser's default font size.
Our advert income dropped with the change to a more readable font size. Hardly a good outcome for DssW's bottom line.
But Sleep Centre's larger font size is staying. Going back to a smaller font size detracts from our visitor's experience. In the end I prefer to gain a happy customer tomorrow than an Google Adsense click today.
Thanks to Oliver Reichenstein for publishing 100E2R - recommended reading for web designers looking to improve readability.