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Why is there so much white space? Why aren't text columns full width?

2 mins read

Your website is built for readability.  

The human eye has a hard time reading text in very long rows. That's why newspapers, for example, have many columns on a page instead of just one very long column that runs the full width of the newspaper; that would be very difficult to read.

We have designed Jottful so the text column width matches what researchers have identified is the maximum readable length for a row of text. 

In other words, we want to make sure your website visitors are able to easily read your content.   

Your website is designed to encourage visitors to take action. 

Some websites have multiple columns across the screen. Oftentimes this is confusing to visitors because they aren't sure where to look first. 

Research that follows the human eye as it scans websites finds that visitors miss a lot of information when it's laid out this way. Website visitors read very quickly and often overlook important information — including calls to action — when the order and hierarchy of information are not clear. 

This is why, for example, the New York Times print edition has many columns across the page — but each article on the digital version is just one column wide.  Indeed, the column width for a New York Times article is slightly narrower than what we use at Jottful. 

Your website is made to work well on mobile. 

By using a single column of text, we are also able to more easily format the content on the page for visitors who use mobile devices. If there were many items in a row, those items might not reorder for narrower screens in a way that's easy for visitors to read and act on.

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Written by Dawn Verbrigghe
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