Avoid ALL CAPS; they decrease readability and legibility, take up 35% more space, and are interpreted online as yelling. All caps slow reading down by about 13% (the studies vary) and the longer a person reads them, the slower they read (see Mile Tinker’s study). Most of us read by looking at the shapes of the words, and all caps words have the same shape–shorter or longer rectangles.  Compare “ALL CAPS” to “all caps” or, better yet, “yellow jelly beans” to “YELLOW JELLY BEANS.” With lower-case or upper- and lower-case combinations we can see the ascender and descenders and other letter shapes more easily and quickly realize jelly beans is “jelly beans” and not “TELLY BIKES.” This is one reason the signs for road names are changing from all caps to upper- and lower-case: we can recognize the names much more quickly (very important when driving and trying to turn onto a certain street). Using all caps, thus, makes reading more difficult and may increase to cognitive burden, decreasing what the reader remembers.  In addition, all caps take up about 35% more space, so they are not a wise choice when space is a consideration. Plus, for those of us who have been online for a while, we know all capes denotes yelling, and most of us do not want to yell at our readers.

Some people like all caps for emphasis, but unless we want to yell at our readers, slow down their reading, and decrease their comprehension, all caps are not a wise choice. Since all caps take up so much space, use bold and an increased type size for emphasis, likely taking up less space while adding more emphasis, rather than all caps.

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