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How to Improve your Digital Publication’s Readability

Vee Banionis

at User experience

How to improve magazine readability

Many digital publications are simply difficult to read. It’s not always as easy as taking your existing print publication and replicating it for digital. Digital publications have their own unique considerations that are essential for improving the reader’s experience.

While publishing your existing print publication may be the easiest and most affordable way to get your publication online, you won’t retain or engage your readers just by adding a zooming functionality or interactive features and keeping the same layouts. Only by focusing on your digital publication’s readability, you’ll keep your readers engaged and satisfied, which will ultimately propel your business forward. Here are some methods and tips for improving your digital publication’s readability.

Focusing on your Digital Publication’s Readability

There are many things you can do to improve your digital publication’s readability. This is also true of the overall user experience. As experts in the digital publishing industry, here are our best tips to improve your digital magazine’s readability.

Increase your body font size to 16px, H1 to 24px, h3 to 22 and h3 to 18px. These are the optimal font sizes to achieve the best readability.

Increasing your publication’s font size will improve your publication’s readability. You’ll also want to focus on the size of your text’s headers. Going too big with the header and having a large amount of content can turn-off readers, causing them to leave your website. User-friendly headers are a major factor in having scannable, easy to digest content. Your older readers will tank you for it, and they read the most.

Improve readability by breaking up large amounts of text with graphics and highlighted text.

When focusing your digital edition’s readability, it’s the best to have different focal points throughout the publication that attract the user’s attention. This could be a graphical element, button, or something else. Perhaps you highlight important links, include bolded text, and pull out and highlight important quotes.

Here are some free sources to get stock images:

Use white space to pull the reader's eyes inwards.

Black text on a white background is the easiest to read. We recommend staying away from dark background colors with white text, as this can be difficult to read.

In content-heavy layouts, it’s the best to consider the amount of white space you are working with. White space helps to offset large amounts of text and can help the user’s eyes flow through the text. For example, white space could be found on the margin of your text to pull the readers’ eye’s inward to the content. This will improve your publication’s readability.

Find the balance of line height, letter spacing, and text size.

The density of text will have a major impact on your content’s readability. Density is affected by spacing options such as line height, letter spacing, and text size. To improve readability, it’s best to find a balance of all three. You don’t want the text to be spaced too widely nor too compact. Finding the perfect density takes some time, but once you find it, you can use it throughout your digital edition. Studies show that the optimal line height is 150% of your font size for the best results.

Best fonts to use for your publications:

  • Helvetica
  • Myriad Pro
  • Proxima Nova

Use shorter lines of texts with 45 to 72 characters.

We also recommend using shorter paragraphs of 3-5 sentences. Anything longer than this will turn your reader off.

Leave space for your advertisers.

Advertising is key and the bread and butter of your business. We recommend putting aside some pages and spaces to sell for advertising.

Use different publishing tools to improve readability.

There are a few ways to improve text readability on print replicas like using HTML5 and text recognition (OCR). This tool makes the entire publication load faster and the text to be sharper, however, it won’t be perfect. To achieve the best readability, you’ll have to redesign your print publication for digital use.

While it’s reasonable to keep using classic flipbook approach, the layouts simply need to be redesigned with a different approach for online readers. For example, this may include increasing your font size, finding the right text density, and the perfect contrast.

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At Flip180 Media, we have been experimenting with different formats and we came up with three different options:

  • Classic Digital Edition – the approach takes your existing print publications and transforms them into a digital publication utilizing HTML5 and real fonts. The system recognizes the text on your PDF files and translates them into HTML5 real, readable text formats for sharper reading experience and quicker loading times.
  • Modern Digital Edition – If you want the best readability for your digital publication, Modern Digital Edition is a great solution. Modern Digital Edition provides the best digital publication user experience as it keeps all of your pages, delivers a linear reading experience, and helps you expand to a multichannel-publishing network. With Modern Digital Edition, the magazine is built in HTML5, optimized for search engines, and auto-generates an archive.
  • Magazine Portal – is a complete set of tools that help you build and grow your digital multi-platform publishing business. The portal format has the magazine or issue archive page with the most recent issue at the top, followed by the issue page with a table of contents, and editor letter. Finally, the feature pages with navigation are included between other features within the issue.

Contact Flip180 Media to Improve your Digital Publication’s Readability

If you’d like to improve your digital publication’s readability or transform your existing print publication to digital, contact Flip180 Media. We are focused on getting your digital publishing business results and offer a wide variety of tried and true solutions. However you need support, we’re willing to help — every step of the way. Get in touch with us today to learn more about our service and solutions.

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