Perhaps I shouldn’t admit this, but I learned to type on a typewriter. One of the rules I learned in typing class was to put two spaces after the period ending each sentence. I still do it by habit, even though the standard seems to have changed to one space. I’ve always wondered if there was a real reason for the change, or if people just didn’t know any better. It turns out there is a real reason— according to Butterick’s Practical Typography “Typewriter fonts had unusual proportions.” The 2 space rule applies only to typewriting.
Butterick’s Practical Typography provides more than fun facts. Understanding the principles of typography can help us create more usable documents. As Butterick says “Good typography can help your reader devote less attention to the mechanics of reading and more attention to your message.” And, this eBook is fun to poke around in because of both the content and the author’s straight-forward, humorously cranky writing style.
I mention this so business analysts remember to be cognizant of the overall design and readability of their requirements documents. It is a small thing, but the Butterick’s reference provide some valid points on how typography actually helps retain the attention of your readers. And when your ‘reader’ is your project team who may need to add or approve the software requirements on the project, maintaining attention is critical!