What is the best case style for headings on a website?

Go for readability every time

Writing for the web is not just about the words; it is also about readability. Headings a subheadings break up your page and help people to skim read to find information of interest to them.

I get a few of blank looks when talking to clients about what sort of case is best for titles, headings and subheadings on their websites. “Do you want All Caps, Sentence Case or Leading Caps for your titles?” needs an explanation. Each have their own place. If you have had a brand developed for your business then that may dictate what you use. First of all let’s explore what each of the options looks like.

What Is Leading Caps

Leading Caps is where the first letter of each word is capitalised. It can include the little joining words or not. It has a more formal tone and some say, more symmetry and visual prominence. However, it is easy to forget if you are captilising the joining words or not.

What is sentence case?

Sentence case is normal typing with a capital at the beginning of the heading or phrase. It has a more casual tone, is considered more ‘friendly’ and is easier for consistency across a website.

WHAT IS ALL CAPS?

All Caps is where all the words are in capital letters. On the web it can be considered as ‘shouting’ and 90% of people find it harder to read. I really dislike all caps, but that is my own personal opinion.

Which case style is best for your headings?

Your branding guidelines may well influence your choice. If the choice is up to you then think about your audience and what might be easiest for them to read quickly and understand.

  • Lowercase letters enable people to read by word units whereas capitals are understood at the individual letter level and therefore require more time to process.
  • Roughly 90% of people find all-capped text to be harder to read, in general. All caps is read 9.5% to 19% more slowly than lowercase text during shorter reading periods; 13.9% for periods exceeding 20 minutes.
  • All caps consumes roughly a third more space, which means it greater attention is needed to get through the full length of a word or body of text than those in lowercase.

Sentence case and leading caps are read with about the same comprehension. However, you also need to think about how you want your text to be read.

  • Title case gives a more formal tone and might be more suitable for professional or serious matters.
  • Sentence case gives a more casual tone and is more conversational.

(Reference: wpmudev.org/blog/styling-text-website-research/)

Decide on one style and stick with it throughout your website

Once you have made your decision, stick with it for all your website. Consistency is important. As you can see from the mixed cases in the title above it can be jarring on the eye to have things change every heading.

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