Friday, July 21, 2006


I've just upgraded my copy of SpySweeper to version 5. Great improvement but...

Why Why Why do software firms continue to write their 'terms and conditions' in ALL CAPS?

As a teacher one of the first things we were taught in college was not to write in capital letters only. The reason? It destroys the word shape and actually makes the text harder to read. When we read we look for word shapes and recognize the word without reading individual letters. Write the document in capitals and we have to recognize words by looking at individual letters. If we find a document written in capitals only we tend to give up and not bother reading it.

SpySweeper's terms and conditions is a typical example (although they do switch to mixed case after a paragraph or so). Who writes this drivel? Do they want us not to read it? I suspect it's probably a lawyer - a group of people who seem determined to make things as difficult as possible for the rest of us. Now Webroot - Explain this to your lawyers in nice simple language so that they can get it right next time - NOBODY WANTS TO READ ANY LONG DOCUMENT IF IT'S WRITTEN IN CAPITAL LETTERS ONLY AND PEOPLE WHO WRITE TITLES IN ALL CAPS RATHER THAN USING LARGER FONTS OR BOLD TEXT ARE JUST DISPLAYING TOTAL IGNORANCE OF GOOD DESIGN. THINGS HAVE MOVED ON SINCE THE DAYS OF TYPEWRITERS AND TO STICK WITH ALL CAPS ( OR EVEN WORSE UNDERLINED ALL CAPS) IS ABOUT THE SAME AS EMPLOYING A CLERK TO PAINSTAKINGLY COPY A DOCUMENT OUT BY HAND!

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