Use typographic variations with restraint

I’m reading Forms that Work: Designing Web Forms for Usability, and I can’t help but share the following since it’s something I’ve seen incredibly frequently, from library resources guides to I&R intake screenings:

You MAY be tempted to use bold, italic, and CAPITALS and underlining to emphasize IMPORTANT INFORMATION. Problem: you can END UP with a sort of VISUAL SOUP where none of the emphasis works.

It’s challenging to design a user manual, resource guide, or other sort of instructional document without falling back on these kinds of typographic variations.  There are so many points that need to be emphasized, and you want to make sure your audience (readers or end-users) pays attention to the important information.  Here’s some advice that seems good:


There’s so much to find on the web about this topic, it’s hard to know where to start.  Here’s one suggestion with (probably) more to come as I continue to investigate usability and user experience in the world of online forms.


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