I'm designing a mobile application (android) that should be very simple and easy to use because the users are in motion and quick maneuvers that require concentration and have to record some data on the process. It will be something like this:

android leayout

Do you think the use of uppercase helps the quick reading of labels and buttons? I want to make them so easy they don't have to look to much to read the label of what they are about to record/capture/choose

  • 2
    As well as caps, consider font weight, varying colours and font size. It only take a slight change in either to draw the eye. Fundamentally, you are trying to create clear partitions of the screen using titles, so that the user can quickly scan for their item.
    – Gusdor
    Commented Sep 12, 2013 at 8:06
  • It would be much easier to answer this question with real text in place of "RECORD TITLE #1" etc. Right now, it's artificially easy to identify the different records because all that is changing between each record title is the digit at the end.
    – Kit Grose
    Commented Sep 12, 2013 at 8:07

4 Answers 4


In terms of readability, it heavily depend on the font style because some fonts have really readable uppercase fonts whiles others don't. Although comparing between upppercase, lowercase and capitalized first letters, the uppercase ones are slightly harder to read compare to the rest.

If the objective is to reduce reading time for users, I'd recommend the use of icons and lowercase with capitalized first letter. All uppercase text puts a lot of emphasis on each text and therefore makes the users want to read them.


If you want to use caps, use them only on the buttons. All-caps body text is hard to read, causes visual overload, and doesn't look particularly professional. You can simulate the visual simplicity of all-caps by using a sans serif font instead.


In the digital world uppercase letters are like shouting so whilst they are much easier to read (depending on the font used) having lots of text in uppercase is a bit like having a room full of people shouting to get your attention.
I can see your logic and it is sound insofar as readability but in this instance it detracts from the app, making it hard to focus on just one area because there are things in uppercase lower down the page that are vying for your attention.
There are a couple of things to do that would make your buttons and headings easy to use on the go:

1) Use a symbol or icon next to the text on the button so the user just has to look at the symbol rather than read the text.

Use of symbols for quick identification

This app uses symbols to allow people to categories at a glance.

2) Colour co-ordinate the buttons so that each activity has it's own colour (this can be tricky, especially if you have lots of buttons) so the user only has to look for the yellow (for example) button.

Using colour to differentiate between buttons

This app has coloured the buttons different colours to make it quick to identify

3) Use small caps to make readability easier whilst avoiding the problem of "shouting"

To avoid legibility problems choosing a font from the Sans serif (both examples I've used have sans serif fonts) or a serif font (like Times New Roman) should combat a lot of issues. For a collection of easily legible fonts on mobile try these:

Free Easy To Read Fonts for Mobile - Sans Serif

Free Easy to Read Fonts for Mobile - Serif

I collected them myself and they all have licenses which allow for use in an app.

However, I would go for both symbols and colours and keep the text capitalised (This Text Is Capitalised, it means making each new word start with a capital letter and can be confused with uppercase). This doesn't detract focus and can, if done right, give you a very visually striking UI.

  • "uppercase letters [...] are much easier to read" I really doubt this. I think I must - &, more importantly, most others (who've really thought about it) would - strongly disagree. I used to think this, but lately I'm not so sure - & suspect what I interpreted as "easier to read" was really just 'uniform height'... which I see most others citing as a drawback, as letters lose the differentiation of the variations in lower case. & there are the other factors, like all-caps BEING LIKE TIRING SHOUTING, using more space, not always conducive to translation, etc. The claim is very hard to believe Commented Nov 8, 2016 at 23:12

For the buttons you can use uppercase letters, this is because the eye recognizes uppercase letters faster then lower. But this will not be the same for reading. The eye spots the uppercase letter but reads the lower one's faster and easier.

Therefore I would recommend that you use uppercase for button to make a reoccurring action simpler to perform. In names, and text beginnings you should use capitalized.

  • 1
    What do you mean by the eye 'recognizing' upper case letters faster than lowercase ones?
    – JonW
    Commented Sep 12, 2013 at 7:55
  • Because the are easier to distinguish then lowercased. Commented Sep 12, 2013 at 9:12
  • 1
    That's not really what I meant though, so apologies for that - what I mean is, a) Are you saying that it's easier to recognize that words are words when they're written in uppercase than lowercase and b) why does that matter? If it's easier to actually read and therefore understand lowercase then why does it matter if the recognition is greater for uppercase if it's lower for actually understanding those words? I'm just looking for a bit more reasoning and explanation here, that's all.
    – JonW
    Commented Sep 12, 2013 at 10:01
  • It's possible (I haven't designed a test) that uppercase letters are easier to identify when set on their own or in short initialisms. However, when concatenated in entire words or sentences, their enforced UNIFORM HEIGHT/UNRELENTING LOUDNESS quickly starts to impede reading progress, fatigue the eye, waste space, and generally overload all systems involved. So the point about recognition of individual letters, if we've interpreted it correctly, indeed seems asymptotic to the question, as when such letters are ganged up, the relative contribution of ALL CAPS quickly swings into the negative. Commented Nov 8, 2016 at 23:20

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