Headings and emphasis

The way you place the information on the page using headings and formatting to make it stand out is very important for visitors scanning your pages.

Using built-in styles

When it comes to formatting web pages in Plone a lot of the decisions have already been made for you. Built-in styles are provided that must be used to display headings, paragraph text, images, tables and lists. The styles available are managed by the Web Team and they aim to achieve a consistent look for the University of Leicester website.

Please refer to Content Styles in the "Design it" section for more information and examples of how to use the built-in styles that are available.

Heading styles

Use headings to help your user scan the page.

Headings form the navigational structure of pages for people with visual impairments using screen reading software. Without proper headings there is no way for them to move around your site.

Search Engines like Google evaluate the information you put in headings in deciding whether your page matches the search term that has been typed in. If you aren't using heading styles correctly then your search engine ranking will suffer.



    • The styles available are 'Heading h2', 'Heading h3', 'Heading h4' and 'Heading h5'. ('Heading h1' is the page title.)
    • Heading styles must be used in descending order, so text with an h2 heading can be subdivided using h3 headings.
    • Use heading styles consistently to denote the level of importance of a heading.
    • Use words or phrases that someone might search for in the text of your headings.

Text Styles

There may be information that is not a heading that you want to emphasise. Do not use heading styles to emphasise text that is not a heading.

ALL CAPITALS - Not a good idea

It is easy to assume that writing a word or sentence into capitals will emphasise it but in fact the opposite is true. When people scan a page, looking for words, one of the things that helps them find what they’re looking for is the shape of the word and all capitals makes the text harder to read.

Italics - Not a good idea either

Italicis are another common method of emphasising something which, on the web, actually has the opposite effect. In this case, you’re not just changing the shape of the word, you’re changing the shapes of the letters. Again, this makes the text harder to read for someone who is scanning the page.

So how can you emphasise?

The best way to emphasise a single word within a sentence, or a sentence within a paragraph, is by making it bold. This keeps the letter shape and word shape but draws the eye towards it.

You can emphasise a block of text by using one of the icon paragraph styles provided, such as ‘Key facts paragraph’ or ‘Information paragraph’. If none of the icon styles are appropriate, ‘Highlight outline’ and ‘Highlight shaded’ are useful non-specific styles that also provide emphasis.

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