CommunicateHealth
Aug 8, 2013 · 2 min read
A doodle at a library saying "HELLO DO YOU HAVE THE LATEST BOOKS PLEASE" to a startled librarian, while another doodle says, "Shh! Please turn off your caps lock voice!"
A doodle at a library saying "HELLO DO YOU HAVE THE LATEST BOOKS PLEASE" to a startled librarian, while another doodle says, "Shh! Please turn off your caps lock voice!"

Let’s be honest — how many times have you gotten an email written in all caps that has left you with a positive impression? Never, right? Except maybe that email letting you know YOU WON THE LOTTERY!

Fantasies aside, a quick survey of folks at We ❤︎ Health Literacy Headquarters shows that getting an email in all caps leaves the reader feeling that the author:

  • Is angry and yelling
  • Doesn’t have the vocabulary to get his point across
  • Must be working on an ancient computer that doesn’t have different font styles to indicate emphasis
  • Accidentally hit the “caps lock” button when she fell asleep on her keyboard

In addition to leaving us with an all-around yucky feeling, the consensus is that using all caps negatively affects readability and legibility. Most people read by scanning the shapes of letters. Using all capital letters removes a lot of that variation — forcing the reader to work harder to understand the text.

Don’t believe us? Compare these examples:

  • If you need a nurse right away, dial 111 on your bedside phone.
  • IF YOU NEED A NURSE RIGHT AWAY, DIAL 111 ON YOUR BEDSIDE PHONE.

Now ask yourself:

  • Which one of those would you prefer to read when you’re sick, stressed, and confused?
  • Which version makes it easier to scan and find the emergency number?

The bottom line: Do your readers a favor and unlock your caps.

wehearthealthliteracy

Do you ❤ health literacy? We sure do!

CommunicateHealth

Written by

https://communicatehealth.com

wehearthealthliteracy

Do you ❤ health literacy? We sure do!

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