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Are there any studies on the use of justified text in web apps? How does justification affect screen legibility?

Example of justified text:

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I'm not sure what you're asking here –  AndroidHustle Jul 26 '12 at 15:20
    
@AndroidHustle, see the edit. –  UX-Geek Jul 26 '12 at 15:28
    
Related: Best way to align text on a website? Anecdotally I'm not aware of anyone recommending Justified text in any circumstance except when you want a "newspapery" feel; it is/was a common practice in western papers –  Ben Brocka Jul 26 '12 at 16:02

1 Answer 1

up vote 13 down vote accepted

No,for the simple reason that justified text can often create large blocks of white spaces which breaks the continuity of flow of words. To quote this article found in UX movement

When you use justified text, you’re not only making text difficult to read for non-dyslexic users, but even more so for dyslexic users. Justified text creates large uneven spaces between letters and words When these spaces line up above one another, a distracting river of whitespace prominently appears . This can cause dyslexic readers to lose their place repeatedly

As per this article about justified text in web accessibility,

Browsers are not very good at handling justification and displaying justified text, and one is likely to be presented with text where the spaces between words varies a lot, unlike the more subtle variation in spacing that is achieved in printed text. This extreme variation in the spacing makes the text more difficult to read - instead of the eye being able to move smoothly along the line of text, it has to move in "fits and starts", searching for and jumping to the start of each word.

While someone with no sight problems or reading difficulties might find this no more than a mild aggravation, it can present real problems to anyone using screen magnification software (since the gaps between words are also magnified), and to people with conditions such as dyslexia. Some people with reading difficulties and/or some cognitive disabilities find that the "rivers" of white space which can easily occur within justified passages of text on screen form a more distinct pattern than the actual words themselves, making the text extremely difficult to read and comprehend.

However Justified text does have its place in print since the straight line of each margin can guide the eye across columns of text and the aligned columns help define the different areas of text creating a logical flow of words, thus enhancing readability

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I am dyslexic, and trust me number 1 (River Text) is a real issue and pain when reading long descriptions etc. Try to avoid creating this in anyway! –  tim.baker Jan 12 at 2:13

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