Hyphenation on Web Application Pages

Subject: Hyphenation on Web Application Pages
From: Pro TechWriter <pro -dot- techwriter -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Tue, 14 Jul 2009 15:28:40 -0500

Hi Whirlers:
We have a dilemma. There is a welcome page that our users see that allows
them to log in and see someone else's work. The written text on this page
was done by someone else (not a technical communicator).

I was told that it was written to be more "friendly" than the usual
technical writing. (It starts with the equivalent of "dude" and it's not a
gaming system!)

There are a few problems with it, including some pretty obvious grammar
errors, but I am wondering about something else. The text is in a rather
narrow column down the side of the page, and some of it is hyphenated (and
hyphenated at the first two characters). I have noticed recently that some
of the twenty- and thirty-somethings around here have some trouble reading
hyphenated words in text.

This got me thinking. I could think of very few examples of hyphenated text
in columns in recent articles. It is rare even in our local newspaper. I
think we should not hyphenate the text in the browser window, but I don't
have any hard evidence to support this, just watching people try to read
it.

Any comments, opinions, hard data?

Thanks,

PT
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