Cover Image

Typography: Alignment

July 27, 2021 - Reading time: 5 minutes

Make your UI more effective and easy to read with text alignment.

Text alignment is a small but significant part of the interface. Alignment affects how our brain scans the content on a screen. A proper text alignment is one of the most distinct indicators of a professionally crafted digital product.

Any interface is 90% text. So that's why when you see a duly aligned typography, you get the impression that you're using a more thoughtful interface. And when something is not in its place, it hurts our perception immediately.

In this episode, I want to share practical tips to help you create a neatly aligned interface typography.

Tip 1—Avoid center alignment for long text

When text is longer than two or three lines, it is always recommended to ignore center alignment.

When you center-align a longer text, you will force the reader to make additional eye movements on both sides of the content. This causes unnecessary eye fatigue and results in lower reading focus.

Avoid center alignment for long text

Tip 2—Always left-align long text

The left-aligned text results in much better content readability, so all books, articles & newspapers are written this way. The left-aligned text helps to avoid unnecessary eye jumps, making the whole copy much easier to follow.

Always left-align long text

Note: When localizing UI for right-left languages such as Arabic, Hebrew, or Persian, used the right-alignment instead of the left one.

Tip 3—Use center alignment for headlines or small blocks 
of text only

Use center alignment if the headline is one to two lines short. If the text block is longer than two to three lines, it will always look better left-aligned.

Use center alignment for headlines or small blocks 
of text only

If you need to center more than one block of text, one of them is a little longer. The best solution is to modify/rewrite the content to make it shorter:

Use center alignment for headlines or small blocks 
of text only

Tip 4—Use the hanging alignment to connect with UI elements

Use the hanging alignment to establish a clear visual hierarchy for UI elements that don't have the same visual weight as the text, such as icons, bullets, or quote commas.

Hanging alignment helps to create a clear eye path for the text, eliminating zig-zag eye jumps.

Use the hanging alignment to connect with UI elements

Tip 5—Right-align data & numbers

Right-align numbers and timestamps when designing tables, cards, or dashboards. The numbers are easier to compare at a glance with corresponding left-aligned information when they are placed right opposite it.

Right-align data & numbers

Tip 6—Balance whitespace for justified text

Justified text works great in print, but for the web, when you want to have a more formal vibe, it may leave many uncomfortable spaces between words. To avoid these gaps, consider enabling hyphenation.

The hyphens property controls the hyphenation of text in block-level elements. Note that <hyphens> class is language-sensitive. It helps to find break opportunities depends on the language defined in the font attribute of a parent element. Not all languages are supported, and support depends on the specific browser.

Note: If the hyphenation is not an option, please ignore the justified text and stick to left-aligned text.

Balance whitespace for justified text

Cover Image

Typography: Headings

July 6, 2021 - Reading time: 7 minutes

Actionable UI tips to improve your headings UX.

Headings are one of the most crucial parts of typography. We read and perceive headlines first, among other information on the screen.

The purpose of any heading & headline is to grab our attention, set the story's right tone, and intrigue the brain with value.

In this episode, I want to share my practical tips to help you make effective typography decisions and improve the overall impact of your typography and call to action.

Tip 1—Make your hierarchy dead obvious

Make your hierarchy dead obvious

For most UI projects, you'll need to create a set of headings to use around the project (h1,h2,h3, etc.). You can use tools like 
type-scale.com to do it for you. Or do it manually, relying solely on your perception 👁️, math 🔢, or sense of style 💅.

Any way you do—make it obvious to the reader!

  • Increase contrast between headings to improve their readability and recognition.
  • Larger size/weight contrast will help readers to understand the importance of each piece of your text faster. And as results improve the reading flow for each paragraph.

Tip 2—Don't over-style your headings

Don't over-style your headings

Stay consistent with chosen style. Don't over-style your headings.

  • Build a strong hierarchy with a predictable heading sequence for users to read without breaking the rythm.
  • Don't sacrifice your paragraph contrast. Make the main content as easy to read as the headings.

Tip 3—Use unique line-height for headings

Use unique line-height for headings

Don't rely on the baseline grid when setting up your headings line-height.

Visual-heavy fonts require an individual approach on line-height to help them have a better vertical balance. 

Tip 4—Balance headings with negative letter spacing

Balance headings with negative letter spacing

To better balance wider headings— play around with the negative letter-spacing.

Adjusting the letter-spacing is like adding extra spice. This can make your headings feel more balanced by taking less horizontal space and, as a result, less time for eyes to jump from one text line to another.

Tip 5—Balance all caps headings with letter spacing

Balance all caps headings with letter spacing

You can add extra space between characters for all caps headings to make them more impactful and noticeable. But be sure not to overdo it.

Tip 6—Place line breaks above the headings

Place line breaks above the headings

The purpose of a line break or hr tag is to separate one piece of information from another.

Place separators above the headings to better structurize the reading sequence. Use decorative elements to highlight a certain part of your content.

Tip 7—Not all headings should be bold

Not all headings should be bold

It's okay to lower the font-weight for h1, h2 headings and make them more delicate in style.

Experiment with color & style for secondary headings. Use these types of headings to highlight a piece of crucial information or quotes.

Tip 8—Make sure headings works out of context

Make sure headings works out of context

In UI, headlines are regularly shown out of context.

Design your headline to stand alone and still make sense even without a remainder of the content around. This will help users to perceive the value without additional clicking.

Tip 9—The heading should always match the content

The heading should always match the content

Don't promise something your content can't provide.

Headlines fail when they don’t match the content or can't keep their promises during the read—resulting in a higher bounce rate.

Good headlines always deliver the promised value of content from start to the end, building trust towards the author in the long run.

Tip 10—Headings should 
not be too long

Headings should 
not be too long

Do not exceed over 62 characters!

Search engines tend to ignore links that are over exceed 62 characters. This could decrease the conversion rate in the long run and lower the search engine appeal for your page content.

Tip 11—Use descriptive taglines

Use descriptive taglines

A good tagline can increase site visitors' retention, ensuring they are in the right place by providing context for headlines and overall copy.

Use relative tags and helpful information to guide users, save their time and build interest before reading.

Cover Image

Typography: Spacing

June 17, 2021 - Reading time: 6 minutes

Learn how to create and use vertical rhythm in UI design.

I'm starting a new series of designer tips to cover edge-cutting web design topics, such as typography, colors, layout, components, and design systems.

The first volume is fully dedicated to UI typography.  Here you will find all the knowledge to create strong typography for your projects.

Designers use typography as a tool to deliver information pleasantly. Spacing, font size, width, color, and line heights — all elements work together to achieve a better user experience.

In this episode, we'll discuss Spacing. Spacing helps to establish a vertical rhythm and define the relationship in which your typography elements are present. 

A good vertical rhythm is like a good song. It's made with thoughtful pauses and rhythm change to create an interesting flow a user is happy to follow.

Tip 1—Use more space for
 larger titles

Use more space for larger titlesMore space will help to create a better contrast between the headline and a tinted text. This results in better visual balance and readability of your main CTA's.

Tip 2—Use less space for
 smaller titles

Use less space for smaller titlesSmaller headlines should be closer to the paragraph text. Using smaller spacing for small headlines helps highlight an important part of the text without breaking the reading flow.

Tip 3—Use more space 
above the titles

Use more space 
above the titlesThe extra space above the headline will create a pause to separate one piece of text from another. In addition, more space makes the transition from one topic to another more clear.

Tip 4—Define your line spacing

Spacing between paragraphsTo make your text look consistent — set up a universal spacing you'll use as a default one.

The ideal line spacing for most fonts is 30% - 50% of its line-height. For example, if your text line-height is 24pt, the spacing between paragraphs should be 8, 10, or 12pt.

This method is proven good because:

  1. The spacing will always match your font choice.
  2. You can multiply this number and create a spacing system for every typography need. 

Tip 5—Cut horizontal space
 for long titles

Cut horizontal spaceOur eyes are scanning the text in a Z-way pattern. That's why long headlines are so hard to follow until the last word. So don't make users spin their heads to read.

Use less horizontal space, and seek symmetry through logical line breaks to achieve 
eye-catching CTA’s.

Tip 6—Add more space between 
text and image

Space between 
text and imageImages are visually heavier than the text. Adding extra space will help create a balance between vibrant imagery and the context, making it easier to read.

This will help the text not be obscured by visually heavy images or graphics.

Tip 7—Space inside
 the paragraph

Space inside
 the paragraphKeep a consistent spacing inside your paragraph and between its elements. Use a universal spacing for all elements inside the paragraph, such as lists, quotes, tables, or any decorative elements.

Tip 8—Vertical rhythm vs. 
layout grid

Vertical rythm vs. 
layout gridWhen using a grid, it's easy to fall into a trap a solely rely on it to align your text. This will make your text uniformed but not visually appealing.

So f*ck the grid when it comes to typography — use vertical rhythm. 

Instead, work with contrast and stay consistent with spacings to create a memorable rythm that will guide your reader.

Useful resources