The Downside of Dummy Text

By Deane Barker on March 30, 2008

I’m reading Jakob’s Nielsen’s Prioritizing Web Usability off and on. He has an interesting aside in his chapter on typography.

Why do so many Web sites have illegible text? Didn’t anybody read the text while designing the site?

The unfortunate answer is “no.” It’s quite common for Web sites to be designed without real content. Instead the designer fills the pages with dummy text…

He makes a good point. Do we actually test the typography of our text for legibility when we design a site? Or do we just fill it with Lipsum and gloss over it, assuming people can read it fine?

Our guideline: If you don’t have the final content available while designing a Web site, at least insert representative text from the current site instead of nonsense text.



  1. I have to admit to having done some builds where we have used lipsum and it just ends up messy as there’s no appreciation for the proper content, however when I have been given real content to work with during the build I have a greater understanding of the aesthetics required and spacing

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