Gosh, That’s Handy!

Positive vs. Negative

Reversed type, white on black or on any other color, is almost impossible to read in quantity. A statement in reversed type can be readable in a headline or sub-headline, but it must be brief and of sufficient size for the characters to be recognizable. If you want to hide your message, reverse the text.

Why So Many Columns?

Text is set in columns to increase the comfort and speed of reading. The wider the column, the more eye movement required in scanning the text. Most newspapers use columns that are about 26 characters wide and are set in 10-point type. If the text were set to run across two or three column widths, there is a risk of “drop-off,” where the reader actually drops off the line due to the effort of too wide a scan.

“Dropping Off” the Cliff…

Drop-off is relative to the length of the text and the size of the type. You can use a wider column as long as the type size is increased to balance the length of the line.

Drop-off is also a factor in designing for the new wider website standard of 1024 x 768 pixel width. Designers should artfully balance artwork, sidebars and navigation columns to avoid a layout that requires the reader to scan the full length of the wider web page.

Gosh, That’s Handy!

Crazy Like an Egg!


Seeing Is Believing

“Why don’t they click!?! The button is SO big! And it’s red, too, dammit!” Good usability testing is often hard to pull off, so most designers and developers enjoy the “sweet bliss” of ignorance.

What if you could see what visitors are doing on any page of your website? What gets the most clicks, how long before click, what are the comparative rankings for every clickable, what’s getting clicked on that isn’t even linked? Hmmm…

Visualize Your Visitors

That’s CrazyEgg’s tagline. A brilliant tool that simplifies and extends analytics so you can actually see what your site’s visitors have been doing and adjust accordingly.

Visit crazyegg.com

Gee Whillickers!

Can You Read It Now?

In an effort to improve the readability of highway signs across the U.S., in 2004 the Federal Highway Administration approved a typeface called Clearview to replace the Highway Gothic lettering that has marked the way for more than five decades. Signs with Clearview text are now being replaced as old ones wear out.

A road sign in Highway Gothic, left, and one in Clearview.

The change to Clearview was prompted by the need to increase readability on the highway, especially at night when bright headlights turn letters into a glowing blur. Clearview, with its more open spaces, provides a lighter, more readable display.

In nighttime tests, Clearview showed a 16 percent improvement in recognition over Highway Gothic. At 60 miles per hour this gives the driver an extra one to two seconds to make a decision, hopefully just enough time to avoid the divider between the freeway and the off-ramp.