Useful
Inventions
Favorite
Quotes
Game
Design
Atari
Memories
Personal
Pages

Text Tips for Your Web Site

Are your pages easy to read?

Opinion page by Duane Alan Hahn.

Table of Contents

 

Easy Q & A Lists with <UL>
Figured out by Duane Alan Hahn on November 15, 2012.

 

 

 

 

Italics

I've been to some web sites that have large sections in italics. It's hard on the eyes. It's even harder on the eyes than a serif font. I'm not saying that you should never use italics, just be smart about it. Bold is usually a better choice than italics, since it's so much easier to read (in small doses anyway).

Google Search: Italics

Back to Top

 

 

 

 

Bold

Similar to italics, only use bold text when you really need it for emphasis. If you use bold text too much, it loses its effectiveness.

Google Search: Bold

Back to Top

 

 

 

 

Centered Text

Titles and captions are about the only things that look OK when centered, although many people agree that left-aligned titles are better. The rest of the text should usually be left-aligned because it's easier to read (easier to track with your eyes). And if you have a list of links, please do not center them unless you're trying to give people a throbbing headache on purpose.

Don't Center Headings

Why You Should Never Center Align Paragraph Text

Back to Top

 

 

 

 

Justified Text

You might think that it's cool to have your web pages look just like a newspaper by having a straight edge on both sides of a paragraph, but it can be hard to read. The space between the words is usually inconsistent and that can scare off a lot of visitors. You might want to give up the pretty look if you want visitors to return.

Google Search: Justified Text

Back to Top

 

 

 

 

Avoid ALL CAPS

Using all uppercase letters is a bad idea, even for titles. It's harder to read and your visitors will either think you are yelling or just think that you are lazy. It seems most people hate ALL CAPS, so make your visitors happy. You don't want to go in the opposite direction and use all lowercase letters either. That's almost as hard to read and makes you seem just as lazy. Using regular sentence case for your main text and possibly Title Case for your titles will make just about everyone happy.

Reasons to Avoid Using "ALL CAPS" in Website Copy

Google Search: ALL CAPS

Convert to Title Case Free Online Tool

Convert Sentence Case Free Online Tool

Back to Top

 

 

 

 

Underlining

One of the first things Internet users learn is that underlined text is a link. If you don't want to annoy and confuse your visitors, don't underline normal text. Use Bold, italics, or another font size before even thinking about underlining normal text.

 

That also goes for titles and subtitles. Forget what they taught you in school. The Internet has its own rules when it comes to underlining.

Confusion Caused by Underlined Text on a Web Page

Don't Underline Words if They Are Not Links

Back to Top

 

 

 

 

Sans Serif Fonts Are Better

I use Verdana for my text which is a sans serif font. A serif font, such as Times New Roman, is hard to read on a computer monitor. If you don't want to give your visitors a headache, use a sans serif font. It's also best to avoid strange fonts that people may not have on their computers. Most visitors don't want to download special fonts just so they can see your pages the way you want.

Google Search: Avoid Serif Fonts

Google Search: Always Use Sans Serif

Back to Top

 

 

 

 

Comic Sans

Image from www.InternetBumperStickers.com

Many people hate Comic Sans, mostly because it's as hard to read as italics in large doses. When some people visit a web site that uses Comic Sans as the main text, it screams to them, "Hi! My lame, self-absorbed, 'artistic' expression is more important than your bleeding eyeballs!"

 

Comic Sans wasn't meant to be used on web sites in place of normal text; it was made for comic/cartoon balloons. If you use it in a limited way, as intended, it's not bad, but using it as your main font will scare away a lot of visitors. They'll think you're an immature little girl or one of those creepy, clueless, needy, icky-sticky people who smell like spoiled food and used kitty litter. If you're on the Internet to make money and you don't want to lose potential customers, avoid Comic Sans.

 

Some dyslexic people find Comic Sans easier to read. If your web site is only for dyslexic users, you might be able to get away with it, but most everyone else will think you're a creepy crackpot.

 

Update: I visited a web site in 2015 that used a font called Baumans and it's as hard for me to read as Comic Sans.

Google Search: Comic Sans

Back to Top

 

 

 

 

Paragraph Spacing

Paragraphs are easier to read when they are separated by blank lines. I have visited hundreds of web sites that have all of the paragraphs smashed together with only a little indentation to separate them. Indented paragraphs are harder to read, even when they're separated by white space. It's best to keep the text to the left and add a blank line between paragraphs to make your pages as easy to read as possible.

Google Search: White Space Between Paragraphs

Back to Top

 

 

 

 

Padding and Margins

Here's a really short tip. Text should not be right up against the edges of the browser window or touching the side of a box, line, or edges of an image. Padding and margins make a big difference.

Google Search: White Space Around Images

Back to Top

 

 

 

 

Line Length

Some people say that text should stretch to fit any browser window size, but if they knew anything about readability, they would understand that many people have a hard time reading paragraphs that are too wide. A lot of people who have screen resolutions that are higher than 800 x 600 do not want to squeeze down their browser windows until the line length is just right.

 

Some books and web sites on this subject say that paragraph width should not be more than 65 characters for easier reading. Columns shouldn't be too small either. A column that is three words wide would be just as hard to read. It has been suggested by others that many people have no trouble reading paragraphs that have an extremely wide line length.

 

Many accessibility proponents are against more than one column on a page because they claim that certain special access software reads pages straight across. If that's true then someone should create better software. It should be able to read logical chunks of text no matter how it's displayed on the page.

 

Most of the accessibility web sites I have visited are horrible. The line length is stretched too wide, demanding that you must resize your browser window if you want to read their text and some of those sites refuse to have any kind of margins or padding, so the text is right up against the left side of the browser window.

Google Search: Limit Your Line Length

Back to Top

 

 

 

 

Text Size

It's best not to use a font below size 2 (10pt or 12px) for your main text. Your main default text size shouldn't be too large either, if you want your pages to look more professional.

Google Search: Tiny Text

Back to Top

 

 

 

 

 

One Space Between Sentences

Did you know that it's correct to use just one space between sentences on our web sites? Using two spaces was correct when we used monospaced typewriters and old computers, but now word processors and web sites use proportional fonts, so it's unnecessary and incorrect to use two spaces between sentences.

 

I've seen with my own eyes that many web site owners still don't know that we should be using one space. Their pages are hard to read because they are full of irritating 'bullet holes.' It looks like someone shot up the place. If you want your web site to look more professional, use one space between sentences.

 

You might say, "but browsers ignore extra spaces." That's normally true, but many WYSIWYG web editors will leave as many spaces as you insert (because they use &nbsp;). Put two spaces, you'll see two spaces in the browser window. Put fifty spaces, you'll see fifty spaces.

Google Search: One Space Between Sentences

Back to Top

 

 

 

 

From Two Spaces to No Spaces?

There seems to be a growing number of people who don't put a space after punctuation marks. If they can manage to scrape up enough energy to put spaces between the words, how hard could it be to also put a space after commas, periods, question marks, and so on? And how about putting a space before and after parentheses?

Google Search: No Spaces After Punctuation

 

 

 

 

Hydrofracking is Evil

Visit waterdefense.org to learn why hydrofracking is bad for you, your family, your friends, and the environment.

Tip Jar

If my web site was helpful and you'd like to show your appreciation, feel free to send a gift card to me from my Amazon Tip Jar Wish List.

Web Design Tips

Back to Top

 

Disclaimer

View this page and any external web sites at your own risk. I am not responsible for any possible spiritual, emotional, physical, financial or any other damage to you, your friends, family, ancestors, or descendants in the past, present, or future, living or dead, in this dimension or any other.

 

Home Useful Inventions Favorite Quotes Game Design Atari Memories Personal Pages About Site Map Contact Privacy Policy