NWS all-caps “yelling” gone the way of teletype




The National Weather Service announced this spring that it would stop publishing in all caps in May.

And this is a wise decision because if every forecast is printed in dated teletype, it seems like an emergency, as one Pro Publica article points out.

But in addition to generally communicating a more appropriate level of urgency, the change also addresses how we process information.

Large chunks of text in all caps makes weather reports, legislation and other formal communications difficult to read.

Large chunks of text period are difficult to read.

According to one neuroscientist, we recognize words not by their meaning, but by their shape and sound.

By now most of us know not to type in all caps. Doing so is considered yelling.

But the NWS policy change should prod us to look for additional opportunities to make reading easier for our readers.

Choosing typefaces that ease reading, breaking up text into shorter paragraphs of varying size, and emboldening subheadings to set them apart are just a few of the simple stylistic approaches we can use to encourage people to read what we’ve written.

How do you make your writing easy to read?


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