There are many truly amazing commercial theme developers in the WordPress community these days. Our selection of theme choices have grown exponentially and the overall bar for design work has been significantly raised since I first started designing themes in 2008.
So much has changed! Yet, there is one design practice that continues to befuddle me and that is the size of fonts in new themes. There is no doubt those in the WordPress community have likely heard the cries of Brian Gardner atop Mt. Starbucks imparting designers and developers to start using larger font sizes in their themes and I couldn’t agree more.
Here’s why I think font size in WordPress themes really matters:
Font Size Matters
Small font sizes of 12 pt. and 14 pt. were standard for navigation and body text back in 2008. Smaller fonts provided more room for design or padding. Or maybe our eyes were just better then. Whatever the reason, it’s now time to up our game and our font size.
Here are a few reasons why:
- We have a huge population of baby boomers – a generation of website users who are now in their fifties to late sixties. As we age, our eyes deteriorate and reading 12 pt. fonts is difficult, if not impossible.
- The vast number of monitor sizes require that we rethink how we design. Even with larger monitors, small text is challenging to read. I’ve bought some great WordPress themes this year but I had to spend hours changing the font size so my clients and I could read the text.
- Mobile responsiveness has redefined our web browsing experience. While not every website needs to be or should be responsive, the reality is that most web users are viewing more content on their mobile devices. We have to keep that in mind when developing themes, especially when it comes to website text.
Go Big or Go Home
I want to urge all designers and developers to start with the bigger picture when it comes to creating WordPress themes. Evaluate the entire User Experience and consider how your website visitors might actually use this site.
Do all that you can to practice sound design principles and deliver a great experience for your customers at all times.
And remember, no more small fonts. Go big or go home!