Wall of Text

The Diary page is a huge wall of text, it’s true. I guess if you don’t want to read the wall of text, there are plenty of other sites to check out. I want my site to look like a wall of text.

Micro-blogging and photo-posting is a thing. There are plenty of sites that do it. I do my micro-blogging on Mastodon. I put things on my site when they don’t fit on Mastodon. Of course these things are going to be longer pieces!

I’m also not a friend of pictures for the sake of entertaining the reader. When I read a book, there aren’t many pictures. A picture can say more than a thousand words, if you’re trying to describe the picture. But pictures also take huge amounts of space. A small image of 200 KiB takes up the space of maybe 40,000 English words.

Pictures also involve work: I have to find them, process them (scaling them down, mostly), add them, make sure I’m not violating copyright – a process that I’m not enjoying.

Ideally, I’d like my text to be optimised for skimming, based on some old Norman Nielsen Group article from the last millennium. So bold should be important. And yet… I got infected with the thought that Garamond should not have a bold variant and I was reminded of older German typography using Sperrsatz – increased letter spacing.

“eine Schriftauszeichnung zur Hervorhebung von Textteilen durch Vergrößerung der Abstände … zwischen den einzelnen Buchstaben” – Sperrsatz

A while ago I added Sperrsatz to my wiki, and used it for a while, but these days I’m mostly using Markdown and Gemtext: plain text, simple bullet lists if all the items are very short, not too many links, hardly any emphasis.

So yes, I’m not really following the NNGroup’s recommendations:

Instead, I’m modelling my writing on essay writing. The visual style I’m aiming for is what I’d expect for a short story or an essay.


Some people seem to agree that using a gazillion links and multiple ways to emphasize text might be detrimental to our ability to focus.

“If you call attention to everything, you call attention to nothing … I count eight different points of emphasis in those two paragraphs. Undoubtedly well-meaning, but it’s hard to do anything but skim text such as that.”

– Alex 2021-07-12 12:10 UTC

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