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Use White Space in Your Web Pages

Usability Sample

How quickly can you find out what made the circus disappear?

Games and Pastimes.

The Romans, especially during the times of the emperors, had a passionate love for performances in the circus and amphitheatre, as well as for chariot races, horse races, foot races, combats of animals, and feats of strength and agility. The daily life of the Roman people may be summed up as consisting of taking their food and enjoying games in the circus (panem et circenses). A taste for similar amusements was common to the Gauls as well as to the whole Roman Empire; and, were historians silent on the subject, we need no further information than that which is to be gathered from the ruins of the numerous amphitheatres, which are to be found at every centre of Roman occupation. The circus disappeared on the establishment of the Christian religion, for the bishops condemned it as a profane and sanguinary vestige of Paganism, and, no doubt, this led to the cessation of combats between man and beast. They continued, however, to pit wild or savage animals against one another, and to train dogs to fight with lions, tigers, bears, and bulls; otherwise it would be difficult to explain the restoration by King Chilpéric (A.D. 577) of the circuses and arenas at Paris and Soissons.

Games and Pastimes.

The Romans, especially during the times of the emperors, had a passionate love for:

  • performances in the circus and amphitheatre,
  • chariot races,
  • horse races,
  • foot races,
  • combats of animals, and
  • feats of strength and agility.

The daily life of the Roman people may be summed up as consisting of taking their food and enjoying games in the circus (panem et circenses).

A taste for similar amusements was common to the Gauls as well as to the whole Roman Empire; and, were historians silent on the subject, we need no further information than that which is to be gathered from the ruins of the numerous amphitheatres, which are to be found at every centre of Roman occupation.

The circus disappeared on the establishment of the Christian religion, for the bishops condemned it as a profane and sanguinary vestige of Paganism, and, no doubt, this led to the cessation of combats between man and beast. They continued, however, to pit wild or savage animals against one another, and to train dogs to fight with lions, tigers, bears, and bulls; otherwise it would be difficult to explain the restoration by King Chilpéric (A.D. 577) of the circuses and arenas at Paris and Soissons.

Source: The Project Gutenberg EBook of Manners, Custom and Dress During the Middle Ages and During the Renaissance Period, by Paul Lacroix. Modifed to illustrate web usability principles.

Usability Tip

Use bullet points, short paragraphs, and/or headers to increase white space and improve the scannability of your text.

The use of "scanning" is one of the major ways web readers differ from print readers. A web page has a ridiculously short period of time to convince a reader that what they're looking for can be found on that page. Scannability helps accomplish that goal.

Accessibility Alert:

"In a 'front-loaded' paragraph, the conclusion comes first, followed by the what, why, when, where and how. By placing the conclusion first, you allow screen reader users to instantly gain an understanding of what the paragraph's about. They can then decide whether they want to keep listening to that paragraph, or skip to the next one (which they can do easily with the screen reader). If the paragraphs are short, users can skip forward knowing that they won't miss extra information.

"Front-loading content obviously benefits all users, as your site visitors no longer have to search around to find the main point of each paragraph."
Seven Screen Reader Usability Tips

For more information contact web @ uua.org.

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Last updated on Monday, January 27, 2014.

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