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I have this page: http://www.problemio.com/problems/problem.php?problem_id=161

On the right side I have a few sections like "page stats" "recommend" "problem categories"

what I am wondering is whether it is better to center align the section headings or left-align them?

Also, whats the best way for me to capture the screen shot so I can post it here instead of the link to the site? I don't have Word which I know you can save the screen shot to, and I am on a pc.

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Center alignment is bad most of the time (unless it's a button label). –  dnbrv Feb 27 '12 at 17:11
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4 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

This is more of a Graphic Design question rather than UX.

That said, countries that use the Latin alphabet, we read left-to-right and we're accustomed to aiming for that left side of the column when reading and scanning.

So, most of the time, by default, you'd want to left-align everything.

But there are exceptions and sometimes center-aligning makes sense.

In your example case, though, I see no benefit to center alignment so would keep them left aligned.

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In most instances centrally aligning text is considered bad practice.

Left aligned text is much better for scanability/readability.

I know there is a difference between body text and headings but the same rules apply.

Also see this thread for some good evidence: Is left-aligned text generally preferable over centered text?

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I think the main question is what context you are doing this in. Generally left aligned will work for most Web applications. What I've found is that this will become more of a relevant question when you have multiple levels of headings.

For example, the Chicago Manual of Style will place top level headings center, with all sub-level headings left aligned, and also change size or weight depending on how many levels down you go.

Essentially, if you are posting some really detailed, multi-level, documents, maybe you should pick a style and use their standards. Otherwise, I'd hang left :)

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Patterns are violated to attract attention to something extra important or unusual; to turn on thinking. A disruption in a pattern takes extra energy to process. On the linked page everything is left-aligned. What is the reason for breaking the pattern?

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Could you please elaborate on your answer? The rhetorical question doesn't cut it. –  dnbrv Feb 27 '12 at 19:58
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