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Tips for Good Text Design

It's your page, and far be it from me to tell you what it should look like. However, if you are interested in some of the accumulated wisdom of the Web masters, here are a few things to keep in mind when working with text on your page:

  • Write clearly and be brief. Web surfers are an immediate-gratification, fast-food–type lot. To hold them, you must dole out your message in quick, efficient bites.

  • Break up your message into pages of reasonable length, and break up pages into at least two or three sections (three is best) delineated by headings, pictures, or horizontal lines (see Chapter 21, “Formatting Text”). This technique makes your page more attractive and inviting and also allows visitors to scan your page easily for items of interest.

  • Don't overdo emphasis. Look through your page and watch for overuse of bold, italics, and custom font sizes and colors. Watch also for the use of headings or other properties used to pump up a paragraph that really belongs in body text. Let your page's organization (and pictures) create visual interest, and let your choice of words emphasize important ideas. Use bold to light up a word or two and use italics for things that belong in italics, such as book titles or foreign phrases.

  • Proofread carefully on your own before publishing. In addition, have someone else check your spelling and critique your writing and layout.

  • Always use a signature (see Chapter 23, “Making Links”).


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