I'm building a user profile page that sometimes displays huge amounts of text (depending on how much the user has created). It's basically a bibliography.

Are there any techniques or good practices for a good way to display or work with huge amounts of text without making it too overwhelming?

Unfortunately the information is ordered in a specific way on purpose so I can't turn it into a table with the title in one location and the authors in one location etc.

EDIT: The type of information is a list of medical publications that the user has authored, and it's listed in a required format.

  • Hi Matt, welcome to GDSE and thanks for your question. If you want to know more about the site, please see the help center or ping one of us in Graphic Design Chat once your reputation is sufficient (20). Keep contributing and enjoy the site! – Vincent May 4 '15 at 12:27
  • I went ahead and edited the title and tags on your question for clarity and sorting OCD. If I overstepped any bounds, don't hesitate to edit things back! – Vincent May 4 '15 at 12:27
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    What type of info is it? What sorts of fields? What's the purpose of the site? This question depends completely on the data at hand and the purposes of the site. Unless your question describes that (you can edit your question), I believe it's too broad to answer. An image would likely help as well – Zach Saucier May 4 '15 at 14:11
  • I think it's difficult to suggest anything without some idea of the existing page chrome. In reality, showing the list in its entirety may be the best option. – Scott May 4 '15 at 20:07

Usually large amounts of info are presented in teaser mode, with "read more" appearing after certain number of characters or block height. You can also use same technique to break content into multiple "read more" or pages, with breadcrumbs and page/screen navigation.

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  • This is often bad practice, it depends on the usage and purpose of the site and the data at hand – Zach Saucier May 4 '15 at 14:12
  • I would go with a lazy loading list that updates when you're at/near the bottom of the list. Keeps down load times, but there's no user action required to load more. – PieBie May 4 '15 at 15:43

A verey long list does not work with human perception and human brain verey well.

You need to find some category, alphabetical, theme, some sort of clasification, keywords... something.

In a printed or paged document you can have pages, and you fell you have the control on the reading. But if you don't make a clasification you will have a long document, but not e verey usable one.

Regarding Graphic design. Make colums, count words per column to make them more friendly. Play with the line spacing. Play with the space and margins. The information can be dense. Don't make the reading of it dense too. :o)

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The way to go for me would be a lazy loading list, which loads extra information when the user is at/near the bottom of the page.

The good, the bad

This has a few upsides:

  • keep load times low by only loading small amounts of data
  • user isn't overwhelmed when loading the page
  • no user action is required to load more info (as opposed to 'read more' buttons)


  • the user might become annoyed after a while, because there's no way to tell how much more information is coming
  • there's no good way to search through the list (although this might be helped by giving a export a PDF option)


Here are some examples:

You get the drift. Search the Googles and you'll find more than you ever wanted :) Good luck.

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  • I'm not sure this would apply to just lists of text. – Matt May 4 '15 at 16:54
  • It can be used for anything. Google Drive for example uses lazy loading to display large lists of documents, even when it's only displaying file names. – PieBie May 5 '15 at 8:49

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