February 16, 2012
Walter:

> http://forum.dlang.org/

Sorry for the late reply. They are indeed fast. A screen grab: http://oi39.tinypic.com/2s7e1dy.jpg

At first sight there are three things I don't like about them:
- All those thick boxes inside boxes waste too much screen surface that's better used for the actual messages text.
- The image of the person that is writing steals and wastes another vertical chunk of space. This asks for a redesign that saves that space for the message.
- The menu on the left of the page steals a large amount of space. The threads are often long, while the D menu on the left is short, so there's often a huge amount of space wasted on the page. The result is a too much thin space left for messages text. In my screen about 54% of the horizontal space is wasted for things that are not messages text. I suggest to fix this, I'd like to something more like 80% of it left to messages text.

Bye,
bearophile
February 19, 2012
On Thursday, 16 February 2012 at 13:22:43 UTC, bearophile wrote:
> A screen grab:
> http://oi39.tinypic.com/2s7e1dy.jpg

I'm not quite sure what browser or configuration you're using, but the screenshot does not represent the intended look of the forums.

> At first sight there are three things I don't like about them:
> - All those thick boxes inside boxes waste too much screen surface that's better used for the actual messages text.

Removing them would make the forum rather ugly in the normal view mode. Since it looks like you're customizing half of your web experience already, I'd suggest further tweaking the look to suit your needs yourself.

> - The image of the person that is writing steals and wastes another vertical chunk of space. This asks for a redesign that saves that space for the message.

I don't understand how you can claim that it takes up vertical space when it's alongside the post. The only case where it would waste vertical space is when the post is a few lines long.

> - The menu on the left of the page steals a large amount of space. The threads are often long, while the D menu on the left is short, so there's often a huge amount of space wasted on the page. The result is a too much thin space left for messages text. In my screen about 54% of the horizontal space is wasted for things that are not messages text. I suggest to fix this, I'd like to something more like 80% of it left to messages text.

Viewing the forum in a modern browser will cause the menu on the left to be hidden when there is insufficient space to show the full width of messages.
February 19, 2012
Vladimir Panteleev:

> I'm not quite sure what browser or configuration you're using, but the screenshot does not represent the intended look of the forums.

That's the latest Firefox release, I have not used scripts to modify the page rendering, I have used two Firefox options present in its regular graphical menu. Other people where I work, and friends or mine, use similar settings. Firefox designers have added those options, and have put them well visible in that menu, because there are enough people that use or want to use them.

The purpose of PDF viewers is to show a formatted document, where the position, color and shape of every glyph is decided by the person that has created the page (or by her software). HTML documents, by their nature, specify mostly the contents and the semantics of the page, and leave most of the presentation to the browsers. There are browsers that even read the page aloud, so the "look" of the page is an audio signal. A person that writes HTML pages has to keep in account, as example, that up to 8% of male viewers are color blind, this is not a Firefox option, unfortunately.


> Removing them would make the forum rather ugly in the normal view mode.

I think they are too much thick, they steal too much space.


> I don't understand how you can claim that it takes up vertical space when it's alongside the post. The only case where it would waste vertical space is when the post is a few lines long.

I meant there is a empty vertical rectangle, it steals a rectangular surface. Doing so steals both vertical and horizontal space.


> Viewing the forum in a modern browser will cause the menu on the left to be hidden when there is insufficient space to show the full width of messages.

I have just seen you are right. But I think the text lines of the messages are too much short. The end result is that less than half the page is used by something that's not content. My HTML design sense tells me this is not good.

Bye,
bearophile
February 19, 2012
On Sunday, 19 February 2012 at 16:16:29 UTC, bearophile wrote:
> That's the latest Firefox release, I have not used scripts to modify the page rendering, I have used two Firefox options present in its regular graphical menu. Other people where I work, and friends or mine, use similar settings. Firefox designers have added those options, and have put them well visible in that menu, because there are enough people that use or want to use them.

Using browser features that override page styles does not put you in a position for complaining about the resulting page style. Surely you'd at least agree that it is impossible to create a non-trivial web site that will look good with any combination of user style customization?

> The purpose of PDF viewers is to show a formatted document, where the position, color and shape of every glyph is decided by the person that has created the page (or by her software). HTML documents, by their nature, specify mostly the contents and the semantics of the page, and leave most of the presentation to the browsers. There are browsers that even read the page aloud, so the "look" of the page is an audio signal. A person that writes HTML pages has to keep in account, as example, that up to 8% of male viewers are color blind, this is not a Firefox option, unfortunately.

I don't see how this applies. Text is visible and accessible to screen readers, and there are no issues with color. You are complaining about *style* but bringing *accessibility* into this discussion.

>> I don't understand how you can claim that it takes up vertical space when it's alongside the post. The only case where it would waste vertical space is when the post is a few lines long.
>
> I meant there is a empty vertical rectangle, it steals a rectangular surface. Doing so steals both vertical and horizontal space.

This layout is used by nearly all web forum software. It was chosen to be familiar to people used to those forums.

How would you design the layout?

> I have just seen you are right. But I think the text lines of the messages are too much short. The end result is that less than half the page is used by something that's not content. My HTML design sense tells me this is not good.

This is a limitation of the format used to transmit mail and NNTP messages over the Internet (not all clients create messages with reflow information). However, text using shorter lines is known to be more readable, as you're less likely to lose track of which line you are reading.
February 19, 2012
Vladimir Panteleev:

> This layout is used by nearly all web forum software. It was chosen to be familiar to people used to those forums.

The old D web interface I am currently using doesn't have the simple problems I have listed. That's what I am familiar with. In the web forums I use in other sites most screen space is left to the text of the messages, so those problems are not common.

Thank you for your answers,
bye,
bearophile
February 19, 2012
Vladimir Panteleev:

> This is a limitation of the format used to transmit mail and NNTP messages over the Internet (not all clients create messages with reflow information).

I have just done some tests, and I've seen that the lines I am seeing on the screen in various moments are shorter than the lines I see in Thunderbird, so this web interface is adding many extra newlines.


> However, text using shorter lines is known to be more readable, as you're less likely to lose track of which line you are reading.

Too many words in a line make text harder to read, too few words on a line ask for too much scrolling and too many eye movements. I am seeing too much short lines.

Bye,
bearophile
February 19, 2012
On Sunday, 19 February 2012 at 19:24:46 UTC, bearophile wrote:
> Vladimir Panteleev:
>
>> This is a limitation of the format used to transmit mail and NNTP messages over the Internet (not all clients create messages with reflow information).
>
> I have just done some tests, and I've seen that the lines I am seeing on the screen in various moments are shorter than the lines I see in Thunderbird, so this web interface is adding many extra newlines.

Please see RFC 2646. Not all UAs implement it.
February 19, 2012
On Thursday, 16 February 2012 at 13:22:43 UTC, bearophile wrote:
> - All those thick boxes inside boxes waste too much screen surface that's better used for the actual messages text.

I just noticed that the dlang.org style was updated some time in the past few months to have less borders and margins. I'll update the forum tonight with the same style changes.
February 19, 2012
Vladimir Panteleev:

> Please see RFC 2646. Not all UAs implement it.

I don't know what UAs means, acronyms don't help communication a lot.
And it's not a matter of browser. The problem is: the design of those HTML pages doesn't leave enough horizontal space to the text area.

Bye,
bearophile
February 19, 2012
On Sunday, 19 February 2012 at 20:34:48 UTC, bearophile wrote:
> Vladimir Panteleev:
>
>> Please see RFC 2646. Not all UAs implement it.
>
> I don't know what UAs means, acronyms don't help communication a lot.

I assumed that someone who claims to have HTML design sense would be familiar with the acronym for User-Agent ;)

> And it's not a matter of browser. The problem is: the design of those HTML pages doesn't leave enough horizontal space to the text area.

The forum starts looking bad for me when I make the browser window smaller than 730 pixels in width. Sorry, but I don't think anyone designs web pages for resolutions lower than 800x600 today.
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