This is the most important aspect of your content. A clear structure helps us see the hierarchy of the information.
Make it clear to us which are the headings, subheadings, corresponding paragraphs, bulleted and numbered lists, quotes and callout text suggestions.
Use consistent heading sizes in your document to show us the hierarchy. The main section heading should be the largest (Heading 1), and the remaining headings should reduce in size.
Don’t make any headings just a bold version of the main paragraph size. It’s not always clear to us if this is a heading or a phrase that has been emboldened for emphasis.
It doesn’t matter which font you use but choose a common one across different operating systems, such as Arial. Use a font that has specific bold and italic versions of it so any bold and italicised formatting doesn’t get lost when we open the document.
Use forced page breaks so it’s clear there’s a new section in longer documents.
For both web and print design projects, it’s useful to structure your text into the following:
- Heading 1 – only use indicate a new page, section or topic
(web pages should only have one Heading 1)
- Heading 2 (subtitle) – where relevant
- Bullet points and/or numbered lists
- Quotes, testimonials, callout excerpts
- Heading 3 – a sub heading of Heading 2
- Heading 4
There is tonnes of really useful advice about structure and content heirarchy (particularly relating to the web) on the Readability Guidelines website.