Drivel that cannot fit in a single panel comic.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Stop Centering Paragraph Text

Poor Popeye got the shaft in the food conferring super strength department.

Damn, Dr. Cory talking to his adult, doctor son like a child. Drew is getting double teamed here. Maybe he can call in his sister for help.

This morning I was assaulted by a bit of design ignorance. I was reading a website (linked from that a woman set up to document some chemical burns from some Chinese made flip flops that she bought at Wal-Mart. The woman is a photographer and judging by the photos pretty good at it but damn, the writing was awful and she centered everything. Every picture, line of text, links, everything was centered. It became quite unbearable to read.
So here is a bit of layout advice from a professional: Do not center everything! Confine the centering to titles and appropriate graphic elements. Do not center paragraph text, lists, and other types of text.
Look above for example. I chose to center the comics to get around Blogger's weird word wrapping but note that the accompanying text is left justified and the reader's eye can easily find the beginning of the next line.
Think about the reader once in a while when laying out a website.


jfield said...

Isn't it weird that the text in the Popeye comic is center justified?

Toonhead said...

Dialogue in comics has its own set of rules. The text is aligned to accomodate the balloon that will go around it and not get in the way of other visual elements. The text is often centered when in a balloon that does not need to be odd shaped. The borders of the balloon help the reader. Large swaths of text on the web do not have that advantage.

Robin Edgar said...

I know I shouldn't say this. . . but are those chocolate bars in his pants or is he just happy to see Popeye? ;-)

Robin Edgar said...

Come to think of it. . .

Perhaps you were more subtly hinting at that in saying,

"Poor Popeye got the shaft in the food conferring super strength department."