Wiki Theme (Was: [mb-style] SortNameStyle)

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Wiki Theme (Was: [mb-style] SortNameStyle)

DonRedman
Forwarded from mb-style

Basically Björn suggests to reduce the number of characters per line in  
the default wiki theme.

I realise that I myself decrease the number of chars per line everytime I  
have to read through longer pieces of text in the wiki, either by leaving  
the Opera side-bar open or by zooming the whole page up.

IIRC Lukas and Christov had worked on this Theme. What do you think?

   DonRedman

On Mon, 13 Feb 2006 17:34:49 +0100, Björn Krombholz wrote om mb-style:

>> I just feel that the page is not easy to read at all.
>
> I have to agree, but that's mainly the fault of the default
> musicbrainz wiki "theme", not only a problem of this page. Common
> design rules suggest 60 to max. 80 characters per line in longer text,
> while we have about 200 on the wiki with a 1280 resolution. For some
> strange reason the default fonts have been made much smaller in the
> musicbrainz theme, which doesn't contribute to a good readability as
> well. I often switch to the rightsidebar theme when reading longer
> texts on the wiki, it also makes this page much more readable.


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Re: Wiki Theme (Was: [mb-style] SortNameStyle)

Matthew Exon-2
Don Redman wrote:

>Forwarded from mb-style
>
>Basically Björn suggests to reduce the number of characters per line in  
>the default wiki theme.
>
>I realise that I myself decrease the number of chars per line everytime I  
>have to read through longer pieces of text in the wiki, either by leaving  
>the Opera side-bar open or by zooming the whole page up.
>
>IIRC Lukas and Christov had worked on this Theme. What do you think?
>
>   DonRedman

I said it at the time, but what the hell, I'll say it again: please let the
user decide what size text should be.  Don't override their browser's
settings to make text smaller.

I switched to the "classic" theme as soon as the new wiki was launched, and
it's much easier to read.  If you're having problems, I'd recommend doing
the same.

Sometimes when I'm using a website and it's really bad, I use CTRL-+ (on
Firefox) to make the text temporarily better.  The problem with that is that
many websites have "frozen" layout that breaks if you try to increase the
fontsize, and even when it works I forget to set it back, resulting in lots
of mysteriously broken websites later on.

More discussion at useit.com:

http://www.useit.com/alertbox/20020819.html

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Re: Wiki Theme (Was: [mb-style] SortNameStyle)

Nikki-12
In reply to this post by DonRedman
On Mon, Feb 13, 2006 at 06:34:21PM +0100, Don Redman wrote:

> Basically Björn suggests to reduce the number of characters per line in  
> the default wiki theme.
>
> I realise that I myself decrease the number of chars per line everytime I  
> have to read through longer pieces of text in the wiki, either by leaving  
> the Opera side-bar open or by zooming the whole page up.

I like it how it is, if I wanted it narrower, I could resize my windows.
Perhaps I'm weird, but I find narrower pages harder to read (which is why I
have Opera maximised all the time). I have to wonder why people have
windows so wide that they don't like the length of the lines...

--Nikki
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Re: Wiki Theme (Was: [mb-style] SortNameStyle)

Matthew Exon-2
In reply to this post by DonRedman
Nikki wrote:

>On Mon, Feb 13, 2006 at 06:34:21PM +0100, Don Redman wrote:
>
>>Basically Björn suggests to reduce the number of characters per line in  
>>the default wiki theme.
>>
>>I realise that I myself decrease the number of chars per line everytime I  
>>have to read through longer pieces of text in the wiki, either by leaving  
>>the Opera side-bar open or by zooming the whole page up.
>
>I like it how it is, if I wanted it narrower, I could resize my windows.
>Perhaps I'm weird, but I find narrower pages harder to read (which is why I
>have Opera maximised all the time). I have to wonder why people have
>windows so wide that they don't like the length of the lines...

"It is well established that" dense text is easier to read when it is
displayed in narrow columns, which is (allegedly) why newspapers and
magazines do it.  However, I've just googled around looking for any
references to real studies, and found nothing.  Just lots of people
asserting that "it is well established", plus a couple of people asking why
there don't appear to be any real studies proving it :-)

You're certainly right about one thing: it should be up to the user to
control how the text is displayed.  So artificially limiting the width to
some pixel value, for example, would be a big mistake.

The problem with long lines is that once you get to the end, you have to
retrace your eye back to the start to find the next line.  In the middle of
a long paragraph this can be very hard to do.

As to why I have my window so wide: because I spend all my time flitting
from one website to the next, and resizing every time I load a new page is
too much work.  I keep my browser at some kind of happy medium size that
works for most web pages.  Wikis tend to have hugely long lines because
they've got nothing else to show, but most websites also have left and right
columns.  If my window is the right size for a wiki, then the left and right
columns of "normal" pages squeeze their actual content into a tiny
unreadable sliver.

FWIW, here's another link:

http://www.webaim.org/techniques/textlayout/

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RE: Wiki Theme (Was: [mb-style] SortNameStyle)

g0llum
> they've got nothing else to show, but most websites also have
> left and right
> columns.  If my window is the right size for a wiki, then the
> left and right
> columns of "normal" pages squeeze their actual content into a tiny
> unreadable sliver.

You can't make everyone happy with a default template. I think it's ok like
it is. What we could ponder about is creating a template for people who
prefer a smaller column reading layout, but editing will be a PITA, as well
as more advanced layout tools (tables, lists) will most likely look very
weird if they are displayed in a small column.

g0llum


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Re: Wiki Theme (Was: [mb-style] SortNameStyle)

Matthew Exon-2
In reply to this post by DonRedman
[hidden email] wrote:

>>they've got nothing else to show, but most websites also have left and
>>right columns.  If my window is the right size for a wiki, then the left
>>and right columns of "normal" pages squeeze their actual content into a
>>tiny unreadable sliver.
>
>You can't make everyone happy with a default template. I think it's ok like
>it is. What we could ponder about is creating a template for people who
>prefer a smaller column reading layout, but editing will be a PITA, as well
>as more advanced layout tools (tables, lists) will most likely look very
>weird if they are displayed in a small column.

You can make everyone happy if you defer the decision to their browsers.  
That's why I still suggest removing the bit of CSS that makes the text
smaller.  This would go some way to solving the original complaint.  I know
I sound like a broken record, but I really believe it is *not* OK like it
is.  It doesn't respect the user's settings.  This is bad.  I would like it
fixed, so I can go back to the musicbrainz template, and get the benefit of
all the other style improvements you've made.

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Re: Wiki Theme (Was: [mb-style] SortNameStyle)

Lukáš Lalinský
Matthew Exon wrote:
> You can make everyone happy if you defer the decision to their
> browsers.  That's why I still suggest removing the bit of CSS that makes
> the text smaller.  This would go some way to solving the original
> complaint.  I know I sound like a broken record, but I really believe it
> is *not* OK like it is.  It doesn't respect the user's settings.  This
> is bad.  I would like it fixed, so I can go back to the musicbrainz
> template, and get the benefit of all the other style improvements you've
> made.

Ok, I'll update the theme, remove fixed font sizes and write a new CSS for MSIE
5.5- (because it handles relative font sizes quite different than modern browsers).
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