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?
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:
Do columns of text hurt readability on websites? This may help to back up your decision.
And as always testing would maybe help to provide rationale or point to a solution. Maybe eye tracking or heat mapping to see how a user is looking at the page.
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.
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