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[personal profile] lavalkyrie
I hope this isn't out of line- I really enjoy reading stories at LJ but I find the physical reading of them difficult due to poor typography. I have been finding lately that I have to zoom in 4-5 times before I get a readable font-size in conjunction w/ an optimal line length.

as a web designer, i'd like to petition the community and all LJ authors to consider making 3 CSS changes to make their entries easier to read.

Increase Font Size

adding this bit of custom CSS to your journal would go a long way by itself:

body {
font-size: 100%;
line-height: 1.5;

this sets the font size to the browser default (which is typically 16px). 16px is a heck of a lot easier to read than 12px or worse 11px. line-height refers to the amount of space between lines... also called leading.

Shorter Line Length (aka narrower columns)

the other major problem I see is with line-length. really long lines are quite difficult to read. Optimal line length is around 12 words per line... which means columns that are much narrower than LJ's default 100% width layouts. Think of how easy it is to read a book page... since books aren't 16" wide.  

depending on the look of your journal you might be able to get away with something as simple as

#page {
width: 978px;
margin: 48px auto !important;

If that really messes up your layout (and you don't know the first thing about CSS), at least you can still have the bigger font-size.


I don't see this one as much, but please don't put light gray font on a light gray background. I am partial to black text on white backgrounds, but reverse (black on white) can work too.... the main thing is that the background and the font colors contrast sufficiently.

How to Add Custom CSS to your LJ Theme

if you are still here and haven't run screaming from my geekery then maybe you might like to apply some of my suggestions, but don't know how. LJ is tricky, and even as a self-professed web pro I've had trouble posting, so I'm sure the thought of editing CSS is enough to make many of you cringe.
Here's how to find the section where you can make CSS adjustments.
  1. from LJ Home- hover over Journal - click on Journal Style
  2. off to the right it will show your current theme - click Customize your theme
  3. Under Customize Your Theme - click Custom CSS
  4. you should come face-to-face with a large text area called Custom Stylesheet... this is where to paste in your new rules
  5. click save changes and your journal should now be a little easier to read.

My thanks to all the authors out there who gracefully share their creativity here. And a few more thank yous to any author who doesn't require me to get a magnifying glass to read their work! :)


Since posting this I have found 2 solid bookmarklets:

that both allow the end user to view any web article in a non-cluttered, easy-to-read way. brilliant! but i would still like to encourage authors to give a thought to their own typography. take care!
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December 2011

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