DigitalAnalogues

The Future = Now x Acceleration

‘Blog Post Layout and Illustration Tips

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The Big Block

If you have been looking at ‘Blogs and their posts, you may notice that some are more readable than others. Why is that?

Well, then answer may be what your eye is seeing moreso than the content of the post. This ‘Blog post contains examples of how lots of people do it and how others do it better. Below this paragraph is a big block ‘o’ text. (It’s a greeking block, so it is gibberish.) See how it looks on the screen.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Curabitur sit amet faucibus massa. Mauris facilisis eros volutpat lorem cursus vulputate. Cras commodo tellus vitae eros venenatis eu consectetur felis tincidunt. Curabitur non enim et nisl blandit feugiat non eget tortor. Nunc pharetra semper nisl quis porttitor. Ut pretium pellentesque dignissim. In hac habitasse platea dictumst. Mauris ligula tellus, congue accumsan malesuada ut, venenatis et justo. Suspendisse tristique vulputate augue, vel ullamcorper justo pretium eget. Nulla imperdiet est sed dui aliquet vitae ullamcorper velit euismod. Nunc sed nibh arcu. Nam ultrices aliquet convallis. Morbi aliquam tristique gravida. Curabitur ullamcorper tellus sit amet sapien ultricies eu placerat lacus suscipit. Suspendisse elementum eros vel sem luctus eu fringilla nisi consectetur. Duis laoreet eleifend pellentesque. Etiam ac sapien nisi, quis dapibus tellus. Donec porttitor, metus vitae tempus convallis, dui orci suscipit turpis, vel facilisis nunc lacus nec nisl. Nunc metus nibh, dapibus lobortis consectetur vel, imperdiet eu quam. Aenean eu rutrum magna. Ut ac nunc nec arcu condimentum ullamcorper. Phasellus ut dui vitae eros bibendum pretium eu at purus. Sed commodo arcu vitae elit fringilla sed sagittis ipsum auctor. Mauris turpis metus, tincidunt in consectetur sed, viverra a urna. Vestibulum commodo mauris vitae augue egestas iaculis. Vivamus in nisi purus. Mauris non velit orci. Quisque metus augue, blandit sit amet pharetra et, commodo in libero. 

Avoiding ‘The Big Block’

A long time ago, newspaper and magazine publishers realized that large blocks of text turned readers off. Contrary to what you learned in high school composition, (That paragraphs had to contain all the sentences that made up that complete thought – no matter how large the paragraphs got. Walt Whitman, anyone?) that paragraphs in periodicals worked best when they were comprised of only one or two short sentences.

Look at a newspaper or magazine and you will see all their stories are laid out with one or two sentence paragraphs. Readership studies proved that, when confronted with a long story built with lengthy, complex paragraphs, readers skipped right over them. But even longish stories with short, snappy paragraphs got read.

Why?

Because it was found that readers perceived large blocks of text as impenetrable and short paragraphs as readable. So the journalistic convention was born that small ‘graphs are better than large ‘graphs. Look at the difference of the same text block from above recast below:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Curabitur sit amet faucibus massa. Mauris facilisis eros volutpat lorem cursus vulputate. Cras commodo tellus vitae eros venenatis eu consectetur felis tincidunt. Curabitur non enim et nisl blandit feugiat non eget tortor. Nunc pharetra semper nisl quis porttitor. Ut pretium pellentesque dignissim.

In hac habitasse platea dictumst. Mauris ligula tellus, congue accumsan malesuada ut, venenatis et justo. Suspendisse tristique vulputate augue, vel ullamcorper justo pretium eget. Nulla imperdiet est sed dui aliquet vitae ullamcorper velit euismod. Nunc sed nibh arcu.

Nam ultrices aliquet convallis. Morbi aliquam tristique gravida. Curabitur ullamcorper tellus sit amet sapien ultricies eu placerat lacus suscipit. Suspendisse elementum eros vel sem luctus eu fringilla nisi consectetur. Duis laoreet eleifend pellentesque. Etiam ac sapien nisi, quis dapibus tellus. Donec porttitor, metus vitae tempus convallis, dui orci suscipit turpis, vel facilisis nunc lacus nec nisl.

Nunc metus nibh, dapibus lobortis consectetur vel, imperdiet eu quam. Aenean eu rutrum magna. Ut ac nunc nec arcu condimentum ullamcorper. Phasellus ut dui vitae eros bibendum pretium eu at purus. Sed commodo arcu vitae elit fringilla sed sagittis ipsum auctor. Mauris turpis metus, tincidunt in consectetur sed, viverra a urna. Vestibulum commodo mauris vitae augue egestas iaculis.

Vivamus in nisi purus. Mauris non velit orci. Quisque metus augue, blandit sit amet pharetra et, commodo in libero. 

TextBlocksThe paragraphs above “look” very readable.

Now look at the picture on the left. Those  leftmost legs of text are exactly the same as the ones on the right. That is the optical illusion of the text block.

Small paragraphs look readable. Larger ones look “too long.” In the 1970s and 1980s, legs of type were starting to be appreciated for their graphic appeal. The shape and placement of text blocks were looked at with the same importance as pictures and graphics as well as the “white space” between everything on the page.

Even though we are writing online, the print journalism lessons ring just as true on  screen as in print.

Perhaps, maybe even more so.

If you are viewing this with a computer it will look the way I intended it to look. If you are looking at it on a tablet or smart phone, the screen will be redrawn even smaller. NOT having large text blocks will be an advantage.

Pictures! We Got Pictures!

Now look at the text below. The addition of photos – graphics – into the post makes it ‘look’ better still. If you have ever wondered why newspapers and magazines (with the obvious exception of the Chicago Sun-Times) go to a lot of trouble to get great photographs to go along with their stories, it is because readership studies show that we are far more likely to read a story illustrated with photos or graphics than one that is not.

Editors bemoaned the ‘grey page’ and, if they saw one, would demand a feature – stand-alone – photo be laid out on the page to go along with the stories because it made the page ‘look readable.’

You probably wouldn’t read a story about my trading one car for another, but if I include pictures of a couple of supercars, you might give it a go.

Trading In My Hooptie

My Hooptie

My Former Car

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Curabitur sit amet faucibus massa. Mauris facilisis eros volutpat lorem cursus vulputate. Cras commodo tellus vitae eros venenatis eu consectetur felis tincidunt. Curabitur non enim et nisl blandit feugiat non eget tortor. Nunc pharetra semper nisl quis porttitor. Ut pretium pellentesque dignissim.

In hac habitasse platea dictumst. Mauris ligula tellus, congue accumsan malesuada ut, venenatis et justo. Suspendisse tristique vulputate augue, vel ullamcorper justo pretium eget. Nulla imperdiet est sed dui aliquet vitae ullamcorper velit euismod. Nunc sed nibh arcu.

Nam ultrices aliquet convallis. Morbi aliquam tristique gravida. Curabitur ullamcorper tellus sit amet sapien ultricies eu placerat lacus suscipit. Suspendisse elementum eros vel sem luctus eu fringilla nisi consectetur. Duis laoreet eleifend pellentesque. Etiam ac sapien nisi, quis dapibus tellus. Donec porttitor, metus vitae tempus convallis, dui orci suscipit turpis, vel facilisis nunc lacus nec nisl.

Dude. Where's My Car?

My New Bad Ride

Nunc metus nibh, dapibus lobortis consectetur vel, imperdiet eu quam. Aenean eu rutrum magna. Ut ac nunc nec arcu condimentum ullamcorper. Phasellus ut dui vitae eros bibendum pretium eu at purus. Sed commodo arcu vitae elit fringilla sed sagittis ipsum auctor. Mauris turpis metus, tincidunt in consectetur sed, viverra a urna. Vestibulum commodo mauris vitae augue egestas iaculis.

Vivamus in nisi purus. Mauris non velit orci. Quisque metus augue, blandit sit amet pharetra et, commodo in libero. Cum sociis natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Integer orci ligula, venenatis vitae sagittis ac, aliquet ac augue. Suspendisse ipsum lectus, aliquam sit amet sodales auctor, consequat in orci.

Proin imperdiet, mi sed volutpat euismod, ipsum ante fermentum diam, eget auctor lorem dui id ligula. Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas.

Enhancing Your ‘Blog Posts

Next time,  I’ll talk about adding hyperlinks to your posts in order to enhance then and to impart more detail and understanding to your readers.

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Written by digitalanalogues

June 6, 2014 at 4:35 PM

One Response

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  1. This is so true! When I read articles I always dread seeing large paragraphs and I tend to lose interest fast. With smaller paragraphs along with pictures I find that I can read numerous articles without them boring me or putting me to sleep. Also, I have found reading articles broken up into smaller pieces helps me in regards to retaining the information and being able to use it later on.

    smltwngrl0570

    June 8, 2014 at 2:01 PM


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