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I'm trying find evidence to support my case to change this page. So far, the pushback has been that there's no evidence to say simple, single column text is better than what you see here. Am I wrong?

  • 4
    Looking at the example, there's a major layout issue but I don't think the issue is text columns. The example shows layout issues. There's graphics, inputs, boxes, etc. There's text blocks next to each other but not text columns.
    – moot
    Commented May 16, 2018 at 16:30
  • Single column text is not necessarily "better", especially as it is harder to read very wide text. As moot says, there are way more important things to worry about with that design. Commented May 16, 2018 at 17:37
  • Just to expand on those 2 comments before me. You should align the "Why Frontpoint is still #1" text with the other paragraphs below. Commented May 17, 2018 at 9:14
  • I think mobile vs. desktop layout is a major consideration when you are asking this question as well. But from what is shown there it does look like some content is better presented as two sections/columns (e.g. price or feature comparison) while detailed information might be easier to read as a single column spanning across the width of the page.
    – Michael Lai
    Commented Oct 15, 2018 at 13:47
  • The question revolves around Text, so maybe it should be asked: "when to use x number of columns"? Or even better, "Do human reading behaviors influence the number of columns text should flow"? baymard.com/blog/line-length-readability Commented Apr 13, 2019 at 17:25

5 Answers 5


It would be difficult to argue either side without any solid research or analytics analysis.

But single column text is easier to read and digest, has hierarchy and is more of a convention on pages with particularly large amounts of text. Where as double column layouts can be more interesting and attention grabbing.

The above image has a vague hierarchy, but arguably isn't easy to digest and read as it appears a little mialigned.

For more reading and research:

  • Double columns in a shown case are letting users to easily compare two related themes.
    – Ada
    Commented Sep 15, 2018 at 13:20

This is a question also within typography. From personal experience I found around 20 words across or less has the most comfortable impact on readability. But then again it depends on how much text there is. If there is a lot of text, opening up into a second column is where I'd go.

The reason 20 words or less is because of the sweet spot. The users eye wants to be comfortable at reading and line and to have a nice rhythm when reading. If the line is too short the user has to break the flow by moving his/her eyes down a line, and if this happens often it becomes tedious. If a line is too long then it feels like it takes forever to finish and the user is likely to stop reading as well.

What effect does this have on your column/problem, well it will influence how wide you make the column and might have an impact on your grid.

Now to answer your question directly with the example you have here, I would first assess how much of that text is necessary, and if you can shorten it by about half, then I would make it 1 wide column (wider then what you have) and see how that looks. If that doesn't work, or you can't shorten it Leaving the column at the width you have there if a good width for user reading comfort. And Finally I would test a version where you make the column a little narrower and make 2 columns out of it.

Alternatively I would look into the layout in general and optimise there because it doesn't harmonise. Feels like a display error because some elements are not aligned.

tl:dr A.your version is fine with column width. B.Try different versions. C.work on the general layout/alignment.


A very simple answer. From personal experience, multiple columns make for easy reading in a newspaper or even a book (but for a book should be limited to two - or at a pinch three). For on-screen reading, multiple columns are not a convenient presentation method because of the return scrolling requirement, ie uneconomical repeat scrolling per page of text. So it's horses for courses.


It clearly depends on the width! A VERY wide column, whether single or not, is difficult to read because it's further for the reader to find the start of the next line, interrupting their flow.

A very narrow one is difficult because it interrupts the flow of meaning. We don't just read letters or even words, but phrases, sometimes.

Given a page width and a typeface size and pitch, the number of columns should be fairly obvious: one for most books; far more for a newspaper.

What is annoying is columns in a document usually in .PDF format, formatted in columns for printing on paper, but not reformatted for reading on a screen, requiring the reader to scroll down as they read one column, and up and across to the start of the next, then across again for the next page, and very difficult if you want to read a sentence again and it crosses two columns!


Single column for sure and research is present.

Have a look at idea Number 1(ironically) here all of findings are supported by research and studies I believe double check on the source tho.

Other articles on the topic:

  • 2
    Link only answers are not allowed. Please form your own answer and use third party sites as references only. Links go dead making your answer worthless over time.
    – Rob
    Commented Aug 16, 2018 at 11:55

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