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From: Miro Jurisic (macdev_at_[hidden])
Date: 2005-04-04 15:43:30

In article <20050404125730.M7937_at_[hidden]>,
 "Jeff Garland" <jeff_at_[hidden]> wrote:

> > You are basically saying that we should sacrifice readability for the
> > majority of users who will come to the site and not even be aware of the
> > fact that the reason that the web site is hard to read is that their window
> > is wide. I don't think that's the right tradeoff here.
> The assertion that the site is hard to read for the 'majority of users'
> really isn't backed up by any facts. You're assumming everyone has a wide
> display, small font sizes, etc. Not everyone does. I say the site is
> perferctly readable and that a non-fixed design allows users easy control the
> parameters.

It's backed by my understanding of the issues involved in designing for
readability, which I continue to think should be more important than spatial
efficiency. Your assertion that the site is perfectly readable at arbitrary
widths disagrees with what I believe is credible research on this topic. I don't
have the time right now to look for references, but
<> is a good start. The salient
quotes from it are:

"Results indicated that, by itself, text width does not influence readability;
however, there was a significant interaction between text width and margin
width. The most efficiently read conditions were those with small text width
(4-inch) and large margins, or the largest text width (8-inch) and no border."


"The lack of correlation indicates that preference does not necessarily lead to
optimal processing. Some efficiently-processed conditions are liked by
participants while others are not. "

> I guess we'll have to do a survey...

A survey is not necessarily relevant, unless you are willing to (IMO wrongly)
assume that preference for a layout is correlated to its adequacy. HCI studies
find time and time again that people don't know what's good for them.


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