To Justify or to Not Justify? That is the Question

How to Format a Document: Justification Tips

When I initially started writing, every piece of text I wrote was justified. For those who don’t know, justification is the practice of aligning text in such a way that it runs for the same length in all the lines. To help you realize the difference, the next paragraph in this post is justified. Justification is beautiful. It makes the text look amazing and gives a true block format to it. Right?

Wrong! If you’d notice, all major websites never have justified text. I learnt that the hard way. Being from a purely academic background, I hadn’t the slightest clue. I always thought that justified text looked great. Then I got a chance to write for a great magazine. And I was happy, so very happy. Until, they sent back an extremely angry mail stating that justified text was unacceptable. I then noticed that all well known bloggers never seem to justify their text.

I decided to find out why. While I searched Google for days, trying to understand the logic behind it, I couldn’t find any reasons. I then decided to start asking the bloggers themselves. Finally, I decided to write my own post to help people understand why website content is not justified and should not be justified. 

1) While justified text looks beautiful to me, apparently, it doesn’t to most people. Surprising, eh? Well, it was for me! On digging a little deeper and asking people around, I realized why. I can understand their viewpoint. According to them, justified text is very formal looking. It makes a website seem overtly academic and hence, unappealing. They say that reading websites should be fun and hence, do not appreciate justified texts.

2) Many people with visual and reading impairments find it very difficult to read justified text. This is because such people usually use text magnifiers, available within internet browsers to help them read. In justified text, there is always uneven space between words. It can also happen that there are only about two words in a single line. Naturally, in such a case people using magnifiers find it extremely difficult. They find it very difficult to maintain the continuity of text due to the very large gaps in between words. This reason is something that really blew me away! Even dyslexics face this issue. Hence, it makes sense to write a website in a fashion that allows a majority of people to read it.

3) Lack of awareness about justification is another common reason. While I can’t say that a majority of bloggers were unaware about justification, a few most definitely were. I think this goes to show that people outside of academia really don’t like using justification. Since they form the wide majority of website readers, I can’t help but conform.

So, as of now, all me text on websites will be non justified! You too, should think about making the change. Any questions or doubts, send me a mail. Do tell me about your views in the comments section.

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