On WordPress Website: Just One Page – the Menu Font is Smaller

I’m trying to create a one-page website that is very minimalistic. That means, I don’t want to overload the page with unnecessary information.

One of the most important parts of a website is the menu bar at the top. It’s usually made up of a combination of links to various pages on the site—often with a few icons to represent various categories or areas of the site. The problem is that most websites use a very large typeface for their menus. And guess what? When the font is small, your eyes are automatically drawn to it. So here’s where the importance of a good choice for the menu font becomes clear.

Oversized Icons Aren’t Necessary

WordPress itself is a CMS, which stands for content management system. That means that it’s a platform that allows you to create and maintain websites. For the most part, you use the basic theme that comes with it to create your site. But you have the option of choosing a different one at any time.

One of the reasons why I chose WordPress was because of its built-in icons. While it’s true that you can download other free fonts that have icons in them, these fonts were typically designed for body copy and won’t look as good as the icons built into WordPress.

The Downside to Icons

Icons can be useful, but there’s a downside to them as well. One of the biggest issues that I’ve come across is that when an icon is used in connection with a link, the text becomes unreadable because of how small the font is. Most websites use Verdana as their default font, which can look joli (a French word that means ‘pretty’ or ‘pleasant’.) I tried to use Arial for the menu bar and the rest of the text on the page, but the contrast between the white background and the dark text was too high. So the tiny Arial almost made the text unreadable. Not pretty!

Even worse, if you have a couple of words that need to be set in motion, like, for example, ‘Home’ and ‘Menu’—the icons can actually be a part of the text. So it’ll look like this:

  • Home
  • Menu

The solution is easy—instead of using a regular font, use a script or a display font for the menus and the rest of the content.

Scaling Problems

Even though I used 1:1 pixels for the font size, it still doesn’t look as good as it did on my iPad. Or is it because I have a larger screen that makes the text look better? Either way, it’s clear that the text is almost unreadable on a website.

That’s why it’s so important to make sure that the fonts that you use are scalable. Icons in particular can be a pain to scale because, well, they’re usually designed to represent a human being. So if you make the text larger, the icon will look like it’s been stretched to make it fit. Uneasy on the eyes! Not pretty!

A Better Choice

It’s clear that I made a mistake by choosing a regular font for the menu bar. I should have gone with a display font instead, which extends much better across different size screens. Even better, I should have gone with the google font ‘Roboto’, which is built into WordPress as the default font. (You can change the default font at any time.)

Why? Well, fonts that are built into WordPress are already displayed at their optimal size without any scaling issues. (And trust me, when it comes to typefaces, size does matter.)

I also should have played around with the line height. When I set it to 1.25, the text started looking a little better. But as a general rule, I would suggest setting the line height to around 0.8-0.9, which makes the text look more elegant because it’s set slightly below the line.

The Takeaway

To recap, the downside to using icons is that they can be a pain to scale. Sometimes it just takes a lot of trial and error to get something to look good on a website. So don’t be afraid to try out different fonts and sizes to see what works best for your purposes.