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Usability Sample

Which is easier to read? Which gives you information more quickly?

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Commerce.

"Commerce in the Middle Ages," says M. Charles Grandmaison, "differed but little from that of a more remote period. It was essentially a local and limited traffic, rather inland than maritime, for long and perilous sea voyages only commenced towards the end of the fifteenth century, or about the time when Columbus discovered America."

On the fall of the Roman Empire, commerce was rendered insecure, and, indeed, it was almost completely put a stop to by the barbarian invasions, and all facility of communication between different nations, and even between towns of the same country, was interrupted. In those times of social confusion, there were periods of such poverty and distress, that for want of money commerce was reduced to the simple exchange of the positive necessaries of life. When order was a little restored, and society and the minds of people became more composed, we see commerce recovering its position; and France was, perhaps, the first country in Europe in which this happy change took place.

Commerce.

Local and Limited in the Middle Ages

"Commerce in the Middle Ages," says M. Charles Grandmaison, "differed but little from that of a more remote period. It was essentially a local and limited traffic, rather inland than maritime, for long and perilous sea voyages only commenced towards the end of the fifteenth century, or about the time when Columbus discovered America."

Almost Stopped After the Roman Empire

On the fall of the Roman Empire, commerce was rendered insecure, and, indeed, it was almost completely put a stop to by the barbarian invasions, and all facility of communication between different nations, and even between towns of the same country, was interrupted. In those times of social confusion, there were periods of such poverty and distress, that for want of money commerce was reduced...

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 bold text sparingly.

Though bold text is great for adding emphasis to a word or phrase, over time it causes eye fatigue and reduces reader comprehension. The use of white space and headers is a far more effective method of calling out important information. Studies do not show a drop in comprehension from the use of italicized text.

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