Death to typewriters

Part VI.
User interface sets the tone

Marcin Wichary
2 min readFeb 9, 2015

In this last section, we’re going back to where we started. Medium is a platform for writing and reading stories. The editor is one part of that platform, but so is any surrounding user interface.

The best-written, meticulously laid out and typeset story can still suffer from the interface around it. Here’s some examples of the effort we’re putting into the text surrounding stories written on Medium:

Capitalization. We standardized our user interface on sentence capitalization instead of title capitalization — the latter feeling less modern, and harder to parse by the human eye. (Our style guide is dead simple.)

Quotes inside quotes.

When we quote text (such as story titles) that themselves have quotes, we replace them with secondary quotes. In the example here, the title of the story already has double quotes, which get replaced by single quotes in the quoted tweet.

Title punctuation takes over UI punctuation. If a story title ends with a punctuation character (such as exclamation point or a question mark), we skip the full stop we’d otherwise use.

Controlled breaks. In a number of places in the UI, especially on smaller screens, we strategically add non-breakable spaces so that things wrap in expected places. In the example below, we replace spaces inside “and 573 others” with non-breakable spaces so that the whole phrase will always stay together on one line.

(We also like Oxford comma, and so should you.)

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