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Formatting text

Use sentence case, not Title Case for page headings

Sentence case only capitalizes the first word while Title Case capitalizes each word in a sentence. Sentence case is easier to read and most websites use it.

Keep headings short

A heading should only be about one line of text on the screen.

Keep text short in general

Some users struggle to read large amounts of text on the screen. Keep the text short and to the point. You can add more information with the progresive disclosure element.

Only use all capital letters for acronyms

For example, the Department of Children and Families (DCF), Transitional Assistance for Families and Dependent Children (TAFDC).

Use bold for emphasis. Avoid underlines, italics, or all capital letters

Bold text is easy to identify and read.

When you are on a webpage, underlines should always mean a link to a new page. Italics are hard to read. Capital letters are similarly difficult to read.

On screen, use headings sparingly and appropriately

For screen readers, we need to keep heading levels consistent and in the appropriate priority order on the screen. (level 1, 2, etc)

In general we have 2 levels of priority for text: the question text which is heading level 2. Then the subquestion text which is usually not formatted with any headings. If you use any headings inside the subquestion, make sure they are only heading level 3 or smaller. Avoid using headings in the subquestion unless absolutely necessary to group a large amount of text.

This rule applies to questions that are displayed on screen. You should use headings more frequently inside accompanying documents (such as next step instructions) to logically group information.

Use lists and bullets to group information

Use lists and bullets to make it easy for your user to understand the information at a glance.

Learn more.

Use tables when they are clearer than the alternative

Research shows that many users struggle to understand information contained in a table. Avoid them in many situations, but some text can be made much easier to read by placing it in a table. For example: tables that compare different outcomes (if-then tables) can allow you to simplify a dense list of rules.