Opinion page by Duane Alan Hahn.
Page Table of Contents
Q.How do you make an indented question and answer list without jumping through flaming hoops? I went Googling and found nothing but complicated solutions that usually require plutonium, a background image, and a style sheet.
A.I wondered the same thing and spent about an hour searching, but I couldn't find anything I wanted to use. Most of the stuff out there was either too complicated or the solution was to use an image. I just wanted to use plain old text and not have to shove even more stuff into my style sheet. I gave up and started experimenting on my own. After playing around for about 10 minutes, I figured out something that should work with the most popular browsers. In other words, it seems to be cross-browser compatible. This doesn't use images or fancy tricks. It uses nothing but normal text and the CSS properties text-indent and position:relative. Below is example code:
<p style="text-indent:-22px;"><span style="position:relative; left:-10px; font-family:Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:20px; font-weight:bold;">Q.</span>Question goes here.</p>
<p style="text-indent:-21px;"><span style="position:relative; left:-10px; font-family:Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:20px; font-weight:bold;">A.</span>Answer goes here.</p>
If you want to adjust how close Q. and A. are to the text, just change the 10 in left:-10px to a different number. A larger number pushes it farther away from the main text. A smaller number brings it closer. You can also adjust the font size from 20px to anything you want. If you're using a different font or different font size for the main text, you may need to play with the text-indent number to get the first line of text to line up as perfectly as possible with the lines of text below it.
If this tip worked for you, please link back to this page somewhere on your web site. Here's the address:
I've been to some web sites that have large sections in italics. It's hard on the eyes. It's even harder on the eyes than a serif font. I'm not saying that you should never use italics, just be smart about it. Bold is usually a better choice than italics, since it's so much easier to read (in small doses anyway).
Similar to italics, only use bold text when you really need it for emphasis. If you use bold text too much, it loses its effectiveness.
Titles and captions are about the only things that look OK when centered, although many people agree that left-aligned titles are better. The rest of the text should usually be left-aligned because it's easier to read (easier to track with your eyes). And if you have a list of links, please do not center them unless you're trying to give people a throbbing headache on purpose.
You might think that it's cool to have your web pages look just like a newspaper by having a straight edge on both sides of a paragraph, but it can be hard to read. The space between the words is usually inconsistent and that can scare off a lot of visitors. You might want to give up the pretty look if you want visitors to return.
Using all uppercase letters is a bad idea, even for titles. It's harder to read and your visitors will either think you are yelling or just think that you are lazy. It seems most people hate ALL CAPS, so make your visitors happy. You don't want to go in the opposite direction and use all lowercase letters either. That's almost as hard to read and makes you seem just as lazy. Using regular sentence case for your main text and possibly Title Case for your titles will make just about everyone happy.
One of the first things Internet users learn is that underlined text is a link. If you don't want to annoy and confuse your visitors, don't underline normal text. Use Bold, italics, or another font size before even thinking about underlining normal text.
That also goes for titles and subtitles. Forget what they taught you in school. The Internet has its own rules when it comes to underlining.
I use Verdana for my text which is a sans serif font. A serif font, such as Times New Roman, is hard to read on a computer monitor. If you don't want to give your visitors a headache, use a sans serif font. It's also best to avoid strange fonts that people may not have on their computers. Most visitors don't want to download special fonts just so they can see your pages the way you want.
Many people hate Comic Sans, mostly because it's as hard to read as italics in large doses. When some people visit a web site that uses Comic Sans as the main text, it screams to them, "Hi! My lame, self-absorbed, 'artistic' expression is more important than your bleeding eyeballs!"
Comic Sans wasn't meant to be used on web sites in place of normal text; it was made for comic/cartoon balloons. If you use it in a limited way, as intended, it's not bad, but using it as your main font will scare away a lot of visitors. They'll think you're an immature little girl or one of those creepy, clueless, needy, icky-sticky people who smell like spoiled food and used kitty litter. If you're on the Internet to make money and you don't want to lose potential customers, avoid Comic Sans.
Some dyslexic people find Comic Sans easier to read. If your web site is only for dyslexic users, you might be able to get away with it, but most everyone else will think you're a creepy crackpot.
Update: I visited a web site in 2015 that used a font called Baumans and it's as hard for me to read as Comic Sans.
Paragraphs are easier to read when they are separated by blank lines. I have visited hundreds of web sites that have all of the paragraphs smashed together with only a little indentation to separate them. Indented paragraphs are harder to read, even when they're separated by white space. It's best to keep the text to the left and add a blank line between paragraphs to make your pages as easy to read as possible.
Here's a really short tip. Text should not be right up against the edges of the browser window or touching the side of a box, line, or edges of an image. Padding and margins make a big difference.
Some people say that text should stretch to fit any browser window size, but if they knew anything about readability, they would understand that many people have a hard time reading paragraphs that are too wide. A lot of people who have screen resolutions that are higher than 800 x 600 do not want to squeeze down their browser windows until the line length is just right.
Some books and web sites on this subject say that paragraph width should not be more than 65 characters for easier reading. Columns shouldn't be too small either. A column that is three words wide would be just as hard to read. It has been suggested by others that many people have no trouble reading paragraphs that have an extremely wide line length.
Many accessibility proponents are against more than one column on a page because they claim that certain special access software reads pages straight across. If that's true then someone should create better software. It should be able to read logical chunks of text no matter how it's displayed on the page.
Most of the accessibility web sites I have visited are horrible. The line length is stretched too wide, demanding that you must resize your browser window if you want to read their text and some of those sites refuse to have any kind of margins or padding, so the text is right up against the left side of the browser window.
It's best not to use a font below size 2 (10pt or 12px) for your main text. Your main default text size shouldn't be too large either, if you want your pages to look more professional.
Did you know that it's correct to use just one space between sentences on our web sites? Using two spaces was correct when we used monospaced typewriters and old computers, but now word processors and web sites use proportional fonts, so it's unnecessary and incorrect to use two spaces between sentences.
I've seen with my own eyes that many web site owners still don't know that we should be using one space. Their pages are hard to read because they are full of irritating 'bullet holes.' It looks like someone shot up the place. If you want your web site to look more professional, use one space between sentences.
You might say, "but browsers ignore extra spaces." That's normally true, but many WYSIWYG web editors will leave as many spaces as you insert (because they use ). Put two spaces, you'll see two spaces in the browser window. Put fifty spaces, you'll see fifty spaces.
There seems to be a growing number of people who don't put a space after punctuation marks. If they can manage to scrape up enough energy to put spaces between the words, how hard could it be to also put a space after commas, periods, question marks, and so on? And how about putting a space before and after parentheses?
The Good and the Bad
Negative ions are good for us. You might want to avoid positive ion generators and ozone generators.
Never litter. If you can't find a trash can, take it home and throw it away there.
Hydrofracking is bad for you, your family, your friends, and the environment.
Unfermented soy is bad! “When she stopped eating soy, the mental problems went away.”
View this page and any external web sites at your own risk. I am not responsible for any possible spiritual, emotional, physical, financial or any other damage to you, your friends, family, ancestors, or descendants in the past, present, or future, living or dead, in this dimension or any other.
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.