4 reasons not to justify texts on a website

August 3, 2023

Order and perfection. These are the positive sensations that justified texts in books and newspapers have always conveyed to us. Microsoft Word has also contributed to this slight obsession thanks to its “justify text” function. For this reason, from time to time clients ask us to also justify web texts when we are in the design phase. They are disturbed by that “saw” finish that completely challenges your acquired reading scheme. 

Our answer is always the same: texts on a website should never be justified. The reason? Because it completely ruins the user experience. Human beings recognize reading patterns and are able to follow a visual line throughout a text. But if we justify a paragraph, this uniformity is altered and the order and perfection sought can turn into frustration and discomfort.

With the justification of texts, uniformity is altered and generates frustration and discomfort.

We are going to explain why the idea of justifying text on a web page should be banished forever.

4 reasons not to justify texts on a website

  1. Irregular spaces between words:
    When justified, the text is required to fit within the margins. This causes irregular white spaces, also called “white rivers,” between words and makes reading extremely difficult, complicating comprehension and reading pace. Although we may not notice it, it also makes it more difficult to know which line we are taking and requires more visual effort.
  2. Mobile problems:
    The inconveniences of justifying text are already more than visible in the desktop version, but in the mobile version, with a much smaller column width, everything is complicated. The content will look uneven and illegible and there will be (almost fatal) line breaks so that the justified can adapt to different devices.
  3. More complex updates:
    Any change or addition to the content is more complicated if the texts on a website are justified since they would not integrate organically and could affect the general page design. It would therefore require more time for review and updating.
  4. Accessibility issues:
    Irregular spaces between words can be an added problem for people with visual difficulties. For example, people with dyslexia are very sensitive to spelling changes and react with difficulty to irregular spaces between words. The trend is to eliminate any visual barrier, therefore text justification is not a good idea.

The problems with text justification are more evident in the mobile version

The idea is that the justification of texts on a web page should be avoided at all costs due to the various problems it generates in the user experience. It is important to understand that, although in the print world justified texts can provide a neat and perfect appearance, in the web environment this practice can cause more harm than good. One of the main drawbacks is the irregular spaces between words, known as "white rivers", which make reading and understanding the content difficult.

Furthermore, on mobile devices, where the column width is smaller, the problems are accentuated, resulting in uneven and illegible content. Another aspect to take into account is the complexity it adds to content updates, since any change can affect the overall design of the page. Finally, from an accessibility perspective, irregular spaces can represent an obstacle for people with visual difficulties, such as dyslexia. In summary, avoiding justification of texts on a web page is essential to guarantee an optimal user experience, maintain the readability of the content and ensure accessibility for all visitors.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the justification of the texts on a web page has a negative impact in the user experience. The readability and accessibility of the content must always be guaranteed. Justifying the texts does not make a website more aesthetic and we risk losing visits and dropping in the ranking. Are you looking to improve the browsing experience on your website? Call to mid-rocket