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From: Jeff Garland (jeff_at_[hidden])
Date: 2005-04-05 07:12:23

On Mon, 04 Apr 2005 23:36:13 -0500, Rene Rivera wrote
> This line of argument is getting a little silly but...

Yep :-)

> Benefits come in different forms. As Dave pointed out having a
> "larger" monitor has the benefit of allowing you to place multiple
> narrower windows side by side. Which is something I do as I have
> large, 20in and 21in 1600x1200 dual monitors. So I don't see how the
> current constrained design prevents you from getting benefit.

Fixed width forces me to resize my normal setup or I waste half my screen.
When I resize to your chosen width it uses about 60% of the screen. Resizing
to that configuration makes the URL bar on my browser too small to read and
leaves a somewhat unusual space next to the browser window. (BTW, there is a
.75 inch grey margin on the left on top of the white space margin -- to much
in my opinion).

I'm actually going to make this debate much more practical and Boost related.
Once I've resized my layout for the homepage size if I follow a link to the
serialization library I'm very unhappy because now I have to resize again.
The left third of the layout is for the contents (very handy), but the example
code no longer fits on the screen. I have to resize again now. I'm sure
serialization isn't the library where this might be a problem.

> How is it about small monitors and resolutions? Because you might
> have to scroll left and right? The design can be fixed to allow for that.

Yes, exactly. Yep, by making it liquid ;-)
> > This issue is much more complex than a single study.
> Yes it is and I think there was a previous post which quoted this summary:
> Past Issues - UI Design Newsletter

I don't really want to continue the research tack on this debate -- it will
get us nowhere. This source really doesn't discuss the resizeability issue.
And, for example, the cited report says:

 "Users tend to read faster if the line lengths are longer (up to 10 inches)."

The prototype comes up with text 4.25 inches wide on my screen with 7 inches
of blank space.

> > Nielson is an acknowledged expert in usability and web design.
> But he is only one expert, as you said it's more complex than a
> single study. Hence by extension it must be more complex than one
> persons study.

Yep, this line of argument isn't going to get us anywhere...which is why I
didn't want to start it...

> > I'm sure he is fully
> > aware of the research you cite. Take a gandor at his site
> > Tell me what you find regarding
> > resizeability and use of space.
> I find that his front page is split into two narrow columns.

Two equal size columns to be exact: totally liquid layout. No matter what
monitor size and window size it comes out essentially the same. Just resize
the window a bit -- the computer actually adjusts the content reasonably well
for a wide variety of situations.
> > Look at an article on the site:
> >
> >
> >
> > Note that the lines take the entire width of the browser. Also note most
> > violated home page guideline #2:
> >
> > "2. Use a liquid layout that lets users adjust the homepage size
> > Compliance rate: 28%
> > Guideline number in Homepage Usability book: 67
> >
> > Fighting frozen layouts seems a lost battle, but it's worth repeating:
> > different users have different monitor sizes. People with big monitors
> > want to be able to resize their browsers to view multiple windows
> > simultaneously. You can't assume that everyone's window width is
> > 800 pixels: it's too much for some users and too little for others. "
> That is an argument which does not apply to my design. I do not
> assume any particular pixel size! I only assume that 10 to 12 words
> per line is the most pleasing line length. That is what centuries of
> research and experimentation have shown.

Well sorry, but I believe it does. Granted you don't assume a pixel size, but
the layout is clearly frozen. The whole context of Nielson's advice isn't on
that page. No matter what "I" would like to do in terms of line length,
scrolling, etc I can't do it. You've decided the best size for me and I have
to adjust to it whether I like it or not...well, obviously I don't like it ;-)


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