Archive for November, 2006

Screen space

Friday, November 10th, 2006

I recently read Edward Tufte’s book Visual Explanations which I thoroughly enjoyed. I think I may go through it again, take notes, and post them. Given the visual nature of the book, that would hardly do it justice, but oh well.

One thing that he pointed out is that computer interfaces often squeeze the content in navigation, tools and borders. As thought I’d see how much space I was actually using and if I could increase it.

Let’s see what Firefox looks like:
firefox-before

The status bar is 30 pixels high. The top section is 115 pixels. Crunch the numbers [1] and you’ll find that Google is taking up only 81% of my screen. Of course, the information presented (such as the title, status information and url) is helpful, but let’s see if I can make better usage of my screen real estate:
firefox-after

By using small icons and removing the web developer tool bar (which I dearly love), I’ve increased the space that web pages use to 86% [2]. I’ve also removed a couple of the buttons that I don’t use and added the little gear button, which makes the web developer tool bar visible for those times I’m using it.

[1] My screen resolution is 1024×768 = 786,432 pixels. The status bar is 30 pixels high, running the full length of the screen, and the top bar is 115 pixels. So, (1024 x (30 + 115)) / 786,432 = 0.81

[2] I still have the status bar, but this time the top bar is 80 pixels high. Substitute 80 in for 115 in [1] and you get about 0.86

Comments!

Friday, November 10th, 2006

So I have comments on my blog now. Thanks y’all. When I set wordpress up, I told it to let me screen all of the comments first and set it up to email me when I got new comments. Turns out there was a little miscommunication. I was waiting for the emails to come in and wordpress was waiting for me to approve the comments so it could email me (you know, to let me know that I just approved a comment). In the process, I discovered what people mean by comment spam. I approved the six posts from people I know and marked the 160 junk comments. Blech.