Monday | August 16, 2021
How Customizable Text Will Take Your Web Designs to the next level
So, the whole idea around “inclusive web design” is that everyone should have equal access to the internet, no matter their ability level. Is that such a bad thing?
Being more inclusive means giving people ways to bridge that gap between their ability and what the websites offer. When considering your user bases’ particular needs, the whole goal is just creating an environment where people can feel welcome and included in this shared digital space.
One way you can achieve this is by giving your users the ability to control and adjust their text – customizable text can make it easier to view and consume your content on the whole, for everyone and not just people with disabilities.
But, how do you do that? And more importantly – why?
That’s what we’re getting into today – we’re going to get into the benefits of customizable text and how you can start making your website more accessible and accommodate people with various reading needs and preferences.
Getting into customizable text: The How, the Why, and All The Benefits.
So, what is it? Accessible – customizable text can change font settings, like size, color, and spacing.
Don’t get this mixed up with being able to zoom – many zoom functionalities can help in their ways, but knowing if the text is customizable can change font settings like size, color, and spacing. Zoom only makes it a bit larger; You’re going to want all of these features to make sure people can get into your work.
Now, your circumstances change all the time – I think it’s safe to say it’s nice if you can switch things up if something is limiting your ability to read it. And some people need those accommodations to be able to read it in the first place.
Who is this for? Well, everyone!
Customizing your site’s fonts can make it more enjoyable and easier to read for people with specific needs and preferences – but, in general, we all have these personal preferences. Isn’t it nice when you’re able to customize how a site looks, depending on the display you’re looking on or your current environment?
Customizable text is helpful for just about everyone – giving people options to view your website will keep them coming back rather than turn them away. In particular, you need to keep in mind the people who don’t have the option – reading disabilities will bar people from content they’d otherwise be interested in.
People with low vision, dyslexia, or other cognitive disabilities that affect the way they interpret text – the ability to customize will make a huge difference in their browsing ability and keep people around much, much longer on your site.
But that’s not all – there are plenty of other benefits to giving your website the ability to be customized. It will give your website a boost visually, making it more visually appealing and help you stand out in a crowd. It allows for greeted content adaptation based on
In particular, fluid typography is the practice of designing websites with dynamically sized text and headers that will grow or shrink to fit different screen sizes. That way, you can switch between devices, like your mobile phone, desktop, or tablet.
A Few Tips to Get You Started
You might feel daunted by the idea of utilizing customizable text in your design – or reworking your plan to include it, but it doesn’t have to be! I’ve put together some of the best practices, tips, and ideas on how you can start allowing for more excellent readability with custom colors, font sizes, and spacing so you can be well on your way to making your content stand out.
- Relative Units: One common mistake when implementing fluid web typography is using media queries (like max-width rules) instead of relative units. This may work well for some web designs; fixed-width will limit your customizable text from working correctly.
Your best practice will be to set the base font size to 100% in the HTML element while using relative units. This way, users can alter the base font in their browser and control their experience with much better success. Absolute and fixed units can be excellent in concept – but not if you want to be open and accessible!
- Don’t Over-Style Text: You want the text to stay readable, no matter what you’re offering – over-styling your site content will turn people off. Fancy fonts may look nice in design, but over-styled words can be difficult if viewed on smaller screens. Making sure your text is simple and easy to read is your best bet for the overall design.
- Make Sure the Functionality Works: While it’d be nice to say you can integrate it without trouble, your best bet is to test the design changes as you go. You’ll need to ensure that visitors using the site don’t run across anything that would make the content less accessible or more challenging to read due to these changes.
Issues like having to scroll to read whole sentences, rather than text automatically re-sizing to fit the space, will leave users with a bad experience and sometimes cause them to click away in frustration. You want to make sure to test your design as you make changes to ensure something like this isn’t going to hold you back!
- Integrate it With the Overall Design: Customizable text should be used in junction with other web accessibility practices – this, when done correctly, can result in a vast user experience boost, which will help your engagement and conversions over time!
So, you’ve decided you want to start designing your website in mind – this is a fantastic place to start. There are guidelines and standards to follow – and the WCAG, or Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, will be your number one resource. Consulting a web accessibility expert to help your endeavor is an excellent idea if you’re struggling – but hopefully, this has helped you along your journey to accessible web design too! There’s a lot to learn, but taking that first step is the best foot to start on. You need to keep going!