Easy Reading

One thing I notice when browsing blogs is the complete lack of line spacing. Most templates have plenty of spacing, but there are some who have templates that completely ignored this. If you have plenty of text, not having greater line spacing than the standard is a sin! Sorry Snafz and Keen, it has to be said ;)

With only a few lines of text it doesn't make that much of a difference, but once your paragraphs are growing to five or more lines the lack of spacing between the lines make the text extremely difficult to read. And we bloggers write just to please the readers.

There are different ways to set the line heights, either with a set number such as in pixels or points, or in percent. Pixels or points are not recommended, as it will make text in another size than the normal compressed or dense. In my layout I have all text with line height set to 150%, and 160% in the blog posts.
This code, if inserted into the code between the HEAD tags will increase the line height by 50% on the entire page, similar to this site.

I have tried Wordpress (a while ago, but don't think it has changed), but didn't like the lack of customization. Since I knew HTML and CSS I wanted to be able to change everything, to make my own layout. Blogger enabled me to do this. Of course it's better to use Wordpress on your own server, but that stuff cost money.

Next big thing to ease reading is the width of your text. Now there are tons of things to think when deciding the width of a text, so I will just keep it simple. It should be easy and fast for someone to jump from the end of a sentence at the far right to the next one at the left. The eyes should not have to to travel too far, and you should absolutely not have to move your head to follow a sentence.
The width of the text on this blog is almost too wide, I would say it's at the very maximum. It's a trade-off between to read wide sentences and scroll a lot.

If the width of a layout is set in percent instead of a set number of pixels it will increase as the screen resolution increases. What may look perfectly fine in 1024 x 768 can be horrible wide in widescreen resolutions such as 1400 x 900 (what I'm using). Just to mention some blogs, I have a few in my blogroll that probably uses percentage as width: Tobold's and Keen and Graev. On my screen the text go from edge to edge of my widescreen and I have to move my head slightly to read sentences. No offence meant to mentioned blogs, I am merely pointing out what I think is the best way to display large amounts of text, and that's mostly what blogs is all about.

To change the width of a layout can require some more editing than increasing the line height, since templates usually have a set width already. If your template is using a percentage width, simply adding the following should set you right. The number can of course be changed, but over 1000px will make the layout too wide (have to scroll sideways) for 1024 x 768 resolutions.
Then of course we have the entire thing with paragraphs, punctuation and writing like you never finished first grade, but that have nothing to do with layouts really.


  1. Lol, thanks for using me as an example of poor design! You were right though! I find a 150% line-spacing much more appealing, so I updated my stylesheet. :P

    Just before launch I want to renovate my template to something that allows for two sidebars. My only sidebar is getting really messy and there's even more I want to add.

  2. It's easier to read now, thank you ;)

    Fitting three columns is a bit tight (which I figured after trying), but it should be possible to have a wide right column for the images and a thin left for blogroll and such, without sacrificing too much main column space

  3. Quite the picky little wench, aren't you? ;)

    Honestly, you're the first person to ever mention text spacing and width as an issue. I never even thought about it because it's never really bothered me. I'll look into the text spacing and see how it looks. Perhaps that will be one of those changes that doesn't bother me.

    The width of my blog is here to stay though. I can not stand sites that just go down the center of my screen and restrict my space to write and include pictures, etc. I love having a lot of space to work with and write. I tend to have blog entries that run long and the less scrolling down someone has to do, the better.

    My turn to be picky. Those who know me well probably already know what I'm about to say. ;)

    "And we bloggers write just to please the readers"

    That breaks the first rule of 'Keen's Rules to Blogging'. I write for myself and only myself. That leaves me as the only person I have to please.

  4. "I write for myself and only myself" is a very good point, and have more than a bucket of truth in it. I guess what pleases me is to please other people, strange as it may sound ;)