Avoid fully justifying text on electronic devices, align text to the left

If you come from a heavy print background and you are trying to create content for the web, by default you will be driven to fully justify the content on the screen. Avoid doing this. Justifying text is fine for print but it does not translate well to electronic devices. Justified text on an electronic device is not only difficult to read by people with good eyesight, the content is extremely difficult to read for those with cognitive impairments and there is no control over where words break (and the words do not break with required hyphens, the words just break).

Below are two examples of content so you can see the difference:

Fully justified content (this is hard to read)

I wonder how much more I would have accomplished in my life up to this point in time if I had not had to sleep. Just getting back 20 years’ worth of 8 hours of sleep each night would mean a surplus of 58,400 hours! With all of that extra time I could have written 2 long running soap operas by now, become an Olympic skier, crossed Alaska on dog sled, swam across the Atlantic Ocean and learned Physics! Oh Raisinets! I have piddled my life away! No! Why?! Why?! Why?! Oh well, hopefully by the time I hit my 80’s, some fabulous little scientist will announce a wild discovery of complete control over the aging process and I can forever turn my clock back to when I was 72 because that is sure to be my best year yet!

Left-aligned content (easy to read)

I wonder how much more I would have accomplished in my life up to this point in time if I had not had to sleep. Just getting back 20 years’ worth of 8 hours of sleep each night would mean a surplus of 58,400 hours! With all of that extra time I could have written 2 long running soap operas by now, become an Olympic skier, crossed Alaska on dog sled, swam across the Atlantic Ocean and learned Physics! Oh Raisinets! I have piddled my life away! No! Why?! Why?! Why?! Oh well, hopefully by the time I hit my 80’s, some fabulous little scientist will announce a wild discovery of complete control over the aging process and I can forever turn my clock back to when I was 72 because that is sure to be my best year yet!

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Can’t…feel…my…leg!

As an IT employee, I used to sit for long periods of time each day. This physical inactivity, as well as various levels of stress each day, seriously impacted the way I felt every day. If you find yourself spiraling down into the pit of foggy slothdom, then these suggestions may help you, they certainly helped me!

Get a stand up workstation. Can’t afford one? Don’t worry; there are plenty of free alternatives like placing your laptop on top of a sturdy box on your desk, or making a point to always take phone calls/meetings standing up, or always reading documentation standing up.

Take a lunch break, even if you are a complete introvert or you are unable to leave your office for lunch because your office is surrounded by Bengal tigers. During your lunch break, try to participate in something you enjoy like reading, playing chess, prank calling a nemesis, or knitting (all of which should be done standing up).

Remind yourself each day that the elevator is a mechanical marvel that may malfunction and leave you trapped in a box with a potential freak and no TV, bathroom or ice cream. This thought alone will compel you to take the stairs as much as possible.

Avoid complaining about an issue when you do not have anything useful to contribute as a possible solution to the issue. Mindless complaining will only land you a desk job in a smelly rat-infested basement with no windows.

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