I don’t know whether it’s really half of all sites, but it’s probably around half of the ones I see when I’m browsing around. Let’s say 40-60%.
Something that common, you want to know what it is and avoid it on your own site, right? Well, here it is:
The text is too damn small.
The deal here is very simple. If I arrive at your site, and it looks like reading it is going to give me eyestrain, and I think I can find what I want elsewhere, I’m gone. Why would you give users an excuse to not stick around? Did you not want them?
Any monkey can throw text up on the internet and forget about it. I’d rather spend my time reading the people who care about doing a good job and helping their users.
Honestly, I find it hard to understand how this happens. I can only guess that most site design – and WP theme design, perhaps more important still as it gets used on multiple sites – gets done by young people with great eyesight using big giant screens.
Admittedly, I’m biased. A few years ago I had an eye problem that messed up my detail vision. Thankfully it got better. But I’m still more sensitive to stuff like this. I’m also aware that as people get older it’s very common for their detail vision to get worse (it’s called macular degeneration). So basically, if you’re not paying attention to the text size on your site, you’re discriminating against older users. That makes you a bad person.
If you’ve been looking around this site, did the body text feel a bit big to you? I may have overdone it slightly, for the reasons above. But actually I wouldn’t advocate going much smaller.
I guess an acid test is if you have your browser zoom set to 100%, and you’re on an ordinary-sized monitor with average-range eyesight, can you read it comfortably for minutes at a time without squinting or leaning in? I have my browser set at 120% for extra comfort. Sometimes I come across pages with text that’s surprisingly small, zoom back to 100% to see how it looks, and conclude that it must be designed for insects!! Ahem.
If you’re using an off-the-shelf theme, you may not be able to control the sizes of the body text, headings, etc. If that’s the case, and it’s giving you teeny tiny text, then yes, I do think it’s worth changing your site design over this.
Come to the light, or at least legible, side.