If you have text elements that are all the same color (ie Black), what is the optimal way to logically group text for readability?

Should you change the text color for title/subject headings? Would a hierarchical grouping be preferred over lists? I understand that you can make elements visually different using color, shape, size, etc..., but does that help or hinder readability? I'm not sure of the balance between directing the user to read something with the least amount of visual effort and confusing them with too much contrast here?

Take for example groupings of software technologies as sample text, as in libraries, API's, frameworks, architectures, tools, toolkits, etc... they are inter-related, but somewhat disparate.

3 Answers 3


Well issued book - here the best example.

There is one fine method of easy perception of the information and you know it. The unique difference consists only in number of points on inch.

I will agree with MFrank that additional highlights isn't necessary if color coding isn't required, for example for difficult schemes where besides the description it is necessary to group visual elements.

There are many methods for formatting the text information:

  • headings
  • hierarchical structures
  • affinity principle
  • font set using
  • etc

    All of them can and should be used. The main thing not to apply it is too much.

As you can see I has applied a little from them in the answer: heading, paragraph, list and the help information.

If you give a sample text is will give more possibilities for comments and explanatories.


I am not sure I exactly follow but but if you are planning to go for different color codes for different sections ,I would recommend against it since you would have a case of different sections distributed across the screen which are vying for attention and some would get more attention than others due the colors associated with them.

However I would recommend using a common color/highlighting scheme to highlight the key headings and keep them consistent.

With regards to your text being black (and I would assume your background is white ),I would continue going with a black on white background for text heavy content as its said to be the easiest to read and other colors would just distract the user and not have a continuous flow

  • I was originally just going to keep all the text black and yes it's on a white background. I wasn't sure if there was a readability reason for using a color for certain sections or if it was better to keep it all black. So apart from text color, what is the best way to organize the text for readability?
    – user9533
    Commented Feb 20, 2012 at 18:54

After Daniels answer I had more clarity with my own question and found two links:

One was geared more towards general formatting of Text and the other towards HTML/CSS formatting of text. This was also what I was looking for.

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