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Justified Text, Is It Really Bad for Usability?

Justified Text, Is It Really Bad for Usability?


What is justified text?

A justified text is when spaces are added between words and both edges of each line are aligned with both margins. The last line in the paragraph is left aligned.

What is justified text?

Where is the justified text used most?

Text justification creates a clean and formal appearance in printed materials. Text justification is most commonly used in various forms of printed content, such as books, newspapers, magazines, brochures, and formal documents like academic papers and reports.

Text justification is common in printed materials, it might be less common in digital contexts, such as web pages and ebooks. This is because digital layouts can be more fluid, and fully justified text can sometimes lead to uneven spacing between words and a less readable appearance, especially at smaller font sizes. In digital formats, left-aligned or slightly ragged-right text is often preferred for better readability.

Why is it, not the best?

When text is justified, the spaces between words are often uneven, which can make it difficult for people to track from the end of one line to the beginning of the next. This can be especially challenging for people with dyslexia or other reading disabilities.

Justified text can affect dyslexia. Dyslexia is a learning disorder that can make it difficult to read, write, and spell. People with dyslexia often have difficulty processing the visual information in text, and justified text can make this even more difficult.

Wide spaces between words at the end of lines in justified texts make it difficult for people with dyslexia to identify the individual words in a line of text. The uneven spacing can create a "wavy" effect that can be distracting and make it difficult to focus on the text.

When text is justified the extra spaces between words are added to make all lines the same length. This creates "rivers of white," significant gaps of white space between words. Rivers of white can be distracting and make it difficult to read the text.

People who use assistive technologies, such as screen readers, may have difficulty reading justified text. Screen readers read text by scanning from left to right, one character at a time. When text is justified, the uneven spacing between words can make it difficult for screen readers to accurately identify the characters.

How to get rid of the issue?

There is a popular misconception saying “justifying text is bad”. Numerous studies show that it’s not the reading comprehensiveness that gets affected by justifying text yet it is the reading speed which affects it.

Using text-align: justify is not the most suitable for most cases. When opting for justified text, it is crucial to pay attention to suitable line lengths. Lengthy lines can be challenging to read, regardless of text justification.

If lines are too short and accommodate only a few words, there might be excessively large gaps of whitespace between words, even with the use of hyphens: auto. To mitigate this issue, switching to left-aligned text when viewing content on small-scale devices is advisable.

How to get rid of the issue