I'm interested to know how (and why) the user experience is affected by the way the text is displayed on the screen.

I'm not thinking about how the experience is affected by the way text and the rest of the site interacts and affects the user but if the text by itself can have a measurable impact on user's comprehension of the website's message and purpose.

So, this is my question: does uppercase (all-caps) text in headings and navigation reduce the overall user comprehension of the website? Supposing there are no acronyms in the reading and nav.

  • Is this assuming that the uppercase text does not contain acronyms? Not to argue that acronyms are user friendly. I just want to clarify the context.
    – Chromarush
    Jul 20, 2016 at 12:59
  • No acronyms! I'll edit the question to clarify this. Jul 20, 2016 at 13:05
  • By uppercase do you mean all-caps? Or uppercase text used for capitalization? Jul 20, 2016 at 14:18
  • I mean all-caps. Again, I'll edit the question to clarify this. Thanks for bringing this up. Jul 20, 2016 at 14:38
  • I think the 'why' is because the brain looks at the overall 'shape' of the word as well as the individual letters. Lower case words have more pronounced shapes.
    – PhillipW
    Jul 20, 2016 at 16:24

3 Answers 3


There are already many studies conducted about text readability regarding all caps and the likes.

The Nielsen Norman Group has written about this in many articles, stating

Reading speed is reduced by 10% and users are put off by the appearance of shouting. Source

Short answer: Regular words and headings shouldn't be capitalized for readability. This also goes for tab labels/headers.

Do not use ALL CAPS for tab labels. ALL CAPS is rarely a good idea because it's harder to read. Readability doesn't matter so much for single, short words, but — as guideline #20 for homepage usability states — you should pick one capitalization style (be it sentence-case or title-style capitalization) and stick to it. Source


It will reduce comprehension of the elements which use uppercase text.

If you want to know why, Google the Gestalt school of psychology which deals with the principles of perception.

It probably wouldn't reduce the overall comprehension of the site - but best to be on the safe side, eh?


If you use all caps in logos, short headings or acronyms (I mean something that doesn’t involve much reading) - that’s completely ok. Your users comprehend such sort of information with no trouble.

But if your text involves reading - I wouldn’t recommend using all caps, because there’s something about uppercase text that just turns people off. In addition to this, it’s a sign of bad manners when it comes to emails, and a sign of bad readability when it comes to design.

As for me, reading all caps texts I literally feel that the author is yelling at me.

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