Let's talk about centered text

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.

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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.

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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/

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That seems reasonable, I see why centered text would put a strain on people’s eyes, I didn’t realize it until you pointed it out.

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Useful reminder Chris given this is a feature I use a lot - thanks!

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Great reminder. I’m not a fan of things that should be aligned to the left but are still centered, I do it myself sometimes.

So from now on I'll only use right aglined text (jk)
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Someone should have acknowledged the elephant in the room.
Thanks Chris!

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No need for the big and bold text, seems agressive even though it’s not your point

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Definitely something that should be addressed. Centered text has a place and a time, a paragraph is not what it’s meant for.

The first of many things which need addressing. Over-formatting kills, folks.

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Sorry,

didn’t
want

it
to

sound
agressive
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When mods explain how some effects are misused and harm the reader while at the same time use black text png on a dark mode compatible forum

joke

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Personally, I don’t see how centered text can cause strain on eyes & harm users and that it’s something important that needs to be addressed.
But looks like it’s a sort of a rule now so we have to adhere it. I guess everyone is different 🤷‍♂️

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Because you don’t notice it doesn’t mean there’s no fatigue happening.

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Its easier on mobile because of the screen size. On desktop it can look odd. Add to it the amount of time some people spend on IFC. Again its just a suggestion.

Its like the use of animated GIFs on websites. Sure every geocities website in 2003 had them littered but now people realized it was overkill.

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pls don’t mind about the tabs

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I normally centre text the entirety of every post, thinking it’s just going to be more aesthetically pleasing on the eye of the reader and makes it look a lot neater (being centred), but never thought about the strain element. Consider the ways of this poster changed. Thanks for pointing this issue out!

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I can’t even read half the post whenever someone centers the whole thing

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So here's a challenge for you
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How dare you >:(

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