Gavin Shinfield

Say no to ugly widows – widon’t for the masses

OK, this may sound a bit funny and it may be considered over-attention to detail, but it can really spoil a design and potentially hamper reading when a headline doesn’t quite fit on a single line and leaves you with one word hanging underneath. That’s what we mean by a ‘widow’.

This is particularly relevant to newspaper sites or blogs where the headline may form a central feature to the look of a whole page. It’s not just headlines though, even in body copy widows are generally considered poor style and should be avoided. But how to control them in a content-managed site? Luckily for those of us that worry about such things there’s Widon’t.

I’m a bit late to the party on this one as it was released in 2006 but Widon’t is a neat little plugin for the Wordpress blogging engine, it was developed by Shaun Inman of sIFR fame to solve this very problem for

The plugin is basically a simple PHP statement that inserts a non-breaking space which causes the penultimate word to wrap, simple but effective.

Well, now Dave Cardwell ( has published this neat JQuery plugin so that anyone who uses the JQuery framework can achieve the same typographic perfection without breaking a sweat.

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Comments: 2

commented on

I've always considered this a problem, but never had a clue of how to properly address it. Great jQuery resource! That'll definitely go into the toolbox. Keep up the great finds!

Daren Guillory
commented on

Lovely, Thank you. The Elements of Typographic Style, should implement this on their site.

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