Snapster wrote:[discussing screen wi d th]...I'm one of you....
Well, to be fair, you're really not. You can tell them to change it back; that only holds for you. It obviously doesn't really bother you, or you'd change it. Still, something else you said really caught my attention.
Snapster wrote:......As technology matures, it’s reasonable to look around at offline comparisons for any analogies that fit. How much of your visual field of view is a newspaper? A magazine page? A book? A TV?
Herein lies the crux of the matter. Each of those things has a varying size, and it's seldom the comfort of the reader. There is a reason that paper in this country is 8 1/2 by 11, and the rest of the world uses 8 by 14 (commonly referred to as A4, or ISO A4). Much like the American insistence on clinging to inches, feet, pounds and quarts, when the rest of the world has moved to the metric system, we continue to use a paper size that's unique to this continent.
One of the reasons that columns in newspapers are the width they are is due to the capacity of the average reader (a capacity that continues to drop, sadly) in encompassing information provided by in a sentence. Many web sites are loaded with extraneous noise (some far worse than yours), and the ability of most to filter out this noise creates a vicious circle of ever increasing clutter as advertisers attempt to distract the user.
Snapster wrote:In my view, we’re not far off technology-wise from reaching terminal pixel density on desktop monitors - whatever the maximum density is that the human eye could see pixels at....As we’re reaching this terminal density on desktop sized screens, the choices of how wide content is becomes long term relevant because the platform will be technologically mature.
Here you miss the significant thing. If you're just speaking of the random clutter that seems best exemplified by nearly every local television web site I've ever seen, then sure, screen real estate is important. If you are genuinely trying to have a surface that draws the attention of viewers of the page, then you have lost site of the magic number of cognition (that would be 7, plus or minus 2).
Here's an example of a newspaper (nice of them to offer a snapshot of what one looks like):
Note the width of the columns. Newspapers do not run across the page; they break cleanly at a boundary that allows the reader to digest concepts and information quickly. Perhaps your assumptions on the way people take in information will change over time.
Snapster wrote:A standard newspaper - plausibly comparable to use patterns and content ideals for desktop computing - is actually a pretty wide and dense platform with 5 or 6 columns each 300+ pixels wide each - I didn't google the exact resolution but I'd assume it to be close to 1600 wide resolution depending on pixel density of the printing and maybe 17 inches wide?...It’s worth noting that both of these platforms are also the size they are to be portable and due to human hand size/eye distance comfort level reading patterns...
Magazines vary in size, but larger ones are that size usually to accommodate advertisers, not for comfort of the reader. Newspapers have changed over the years as the readership has become more sophisticated, but are not much different now than the original broadsides published long ago. The column use was driven as much by the need to set type (look up Linotype and my username for entertainment) as it was for comfort.
It isn't the pixel density here that matters, it's the ability of the human brain to absorb information. What the front page looks like to me matters very little, other than during woot-offs, since I see it briefly, and then move on to something else. I doubt that's much different than most of your readership. Either it's something I want, and I buy it, or I ignore it. Once in a while I read the description (some of them are funny), but not as often as I used to, since most of it appears below the fold (in newspaper terms), and I'd rather read CircleID, or xkcd, or even First Monday.
So it goes.
It takes months to find a customer, but only seconds to lose one.
The good news is that we should run out of them in no time.