As the forum grows the members often start to use extra elements in their posts. Text size, image bars, and centered text. Lately I have seen people use centered text for their whole post. How you use these text alignments can either help or harm your users when they read. Today we will talk about centered text.
The simple fact is left aligned text is easier to read than centered text for paragraphs. This is because when you center your text, the starting place of each line changes. This forces your users to work harder to find where each line begins to continue reading. Without a straight left edge, there is no consistent place where users can move their eyes to when they complete each line.
However, when your paragraph text is left aligned, a straight left edge appears. Users can read each line by simply moving their eyes to the left edge each time. This makes your paragraphs faster and easier to read because the user’s eyes don’t have to work as hard to find where the line starts each time.
Centered text is best used for headlines and short lines of text. Users can read them with ease because the lines are short, scanable and don’t need repeated eye movements. They can also give your layout a balanced look with its symmetrical format.
One other mistake you should never make is to combine centered text with left aligned text. For example, a centered headline should not go with a left aligned paragraph. This is because the unsymmetrical line lengths of the paragraph can give the headline the appearance that it’s slightly off-center.
You also lose the symmetrical appearance of your paragraph. Centered headlines should go with centered text. Left aligned headlines should go with left aligned text. Avoid mixing the two together so that your text doesn’t look unbalanced.
This is something to consider when formatting your messages. Our members have gone above and beyond with formatting and it looks great! Just make sure you are not making it harder for the user to read. I’m not saying to not use it when needed, just be considerate of the whole topic.
Image and text credit https://uxmovement.com/