Text Formatting Suckage

This is one of the most spot on posts I’ve read in a while where Deane writes about the lack of basic text formatting skills.

Often, you put WYSIWYG controls in these spaces, and let the editors have at it. However, what I’ve found is that even if you structure a text page as much as possible — break out fields for title, subtitle, author, summary, etc. — things break down pretty quickly in the body of the text page.

Amen. It boggles the mind how much people don’t know, understand and don’t even see differences in text presentation. Everyone will understand better text that is better structured, with better typography, etc. No question. But only a few people realise what they are looking at and make the distinction. Which means that once you let clients loose on the content, it often explodes in all directions.

I always explain structure and headers to clients and trying to keep it clean and readable but most of the time when I go back to the site, boom! Deane lists 11 points, they are all painfully true but I’ll pull a couple anyway;

  1. Overuse of underlining and boldface
  1. A desire to center every heading, title, and subtitle

    Centered bolded text. “Can I double bold this part?”.

    I’ve never seen this training done in a universal, platform-independent manner. Document and text formatting in general is rarely addressed outside of specific platforms, and that’s a shame.

    Agreed. There are a few documents I need to write and use with clients, his post just pushed the text formatting document to the top of the pile. Hopefully I’ll actually take the time to write it.