Capitals

Recommendations

Capitalised words are not easy to read for multiple reasons. One is that people are much more used to reading words in lowercase letters, so those are what our brains find easiest to scan and instantly absorb.

1. Do not capitalise whole words or phrases.

2. Use sentence capital case in headlines and subheads.

3. Use sentence case for buttons.

Exceptions are proper nouns, and:

  • job titles when following the person's name
  • titles like Mr, Ms, Dr, the Duchess of Cambridge (the duchess at second mention)
  • buildings
  • place names
  • brand names
  • when referring to a specific faculty, department, institute or school
  • names of groups, directorates and organisations: Affordable Housing Action Group
  • titles of specific acts or bills: Human Rights Act (but use ‘the act’ or ‘the bill’ following first use on a page)
  • names of specific schemes known to people as proper nouns would be: Right to Buy
  • specific select committees: Public Administration Select Committee
  • header cells in tables: Annual profits
  • titles of books, for example, ‘Content Design’
  • World War 1 and World War 2

Usability evidence

’The science of word recognition’, Mike Jacobs, 2003
GOV.UK style guide UK Government website
How Capital Letters Became Internet Code for Yelling, Alice Robb, The New Republic, 2014

Many, many more sources under the wiki Discussion tab for this topic.

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