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I am creating a feed reader ( I posted in another question some info about it, nothing related to this one) that gets about 10 different sources.

In the my front page, I show the image, title, date, author and a part of the content of each post of those 10 feeds. The part of the content (excerpt) has no format on it, meaning no bold, italic, lines... it's 3-4 lines.

When a user wants to read an article, he clicks on the title and the page opens in a new tab.

Something I have now is an expand/collapse model, where a user clicks on an icon and the rest of the post is shown.

This gives me 3 options (using PHP) and the problem:

  1. The expanded post is shown to the user without any format. Just raw text.
  2. The expanded post may contains line breaks <br>, bold, underline, italic, paragraph.
  3. The expanded post is shown as is in the original post, with full html + images.

Having the 1 option, reading the post is boring, hard and non helpful. It looks good on the page but reading is not.
With 2nd option, there is a better format of the post but there are some times a lot of line breaks, more than 5. This kinda mess the entire look of the page, the post, but you can read it.
With 3rd option, you have colours, images, links, huge sentences<h3><h2><h1>, an ordinary HTML blog post, it messes the whole design, but is readable.

I am very confused on what to continue with. I guess the best solution may be to forget about the expand/collapse model and just let them read the excerpt and click on it if they are interested.

What do you think?

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up vote 0 down vote accepted

Keep the tags (semantics), but use your own css for styling all posts + keep images (kinda your second option). This way all posts will be readable and look the same, but meaningful formatting won’t be lost.

About your problem with “there are some times a lot of line breaks”: could you collapse such cases if you detect them? Or, as long as they are a part of original content, I think they were meaningful, so you could just keep them.

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