Fine Point #1: Line Length

Research has shown that reading from the screen is more difficult than reading from paper. Because this is so, you need to take extra steps to make the best of the situation. One mistake web developers often make is to let the length of lines of text fill the screen without constraints, something that doesn't happen on paper.

Readability is best when each line contains 8 to 15 words. There are several ways to achieve this.

  1. Design your pages within frames to create a left margin and thus shorten the length of the remaining screen, or
  2. Use a large type size (appropriate for primary grades only), or
  3. Put all your pages within tables.

The third possibility is the one most generally applicable. The text on this page is contained within a table 550 pixels wide, with an empty column 50 pixels wide. The line length, then, is constrained to 500 pixels.

If you use the new WebQuest template with frames, line length won't be a problem.

Here's how to do it with Home Page | Netscape Composer

This page was designed by Bernie Dodge for the Triton and Patterns Projects of San Diego Unified School District. Last updated July 5, 1999.

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