Lesson From Google: Provide Layout Choices
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
This morning, when I hit the mozilla button on my desktop, I got the shock of my life. My homepage, igoogle, had a supposedly improved, but worse layout! Lets take a look.
The old igoogle. Notice the position of the boxes (aka. gadgets).
The new igoogle. OMGWTFBBQ! What is the blank on the left side?! Why waste screen pixels people had paid so much for?! People read from left to right, and unfortunately, this meant that the pesky blank space will always be noticed by their eyes.
I went into hysterics! I searched high and low for a "revert back to old layout button"! I searched google itself of ways to go back to the old layout.
But, unfortunately, I can't. I mean, google dosen't allows a switchback!
So, I took out my weapon to counter the worse layout. Stylish for Firefox! It allows users to provide additional CSS tags to format the page to their favor. I found a good webpage that provide me with the CSS codes needed to do just that. http://hicks-wright.net/blog/fixing-igoogle-with-user-styles/
When I searched the web, I also noticed that an amazing number of people protesting about the new layout. Many are threatening google to boycott their services if they do not provide an alternative to go back to the old layout.
Anyway, google revert back to the old layout later on for me.
From this, I learnt a very important lesson on webdesign. You don't choose what you want for the layout, its the Users who choose what they want.
Yesterday during lunch, my friend told me that the scrolling space for r-factor was too small for his screen, and this kinda pissed him off. But others with larger resolutions told me that I did a very good, compact layout. So, now I had a dilemma. I am one of those people who had larger screens, so I overlooked those with smaller ones. So, I did a search for how to provide alternative CSS layouts.
And I came across this page. http://www.alistapart.com/articles/alternate/ It has a good tutorial on how to do this for most modern browsers.
So, I followed it, used it and it worked! Now, people can choose whether they want to scroll the whole page, or scroll by the sections! Internet Explorer 6 users need not use this, as their browsers can only scroll the whole page automatically.
Notice the two tiny links at the top left on this page? If you are not using IE6, you can try them and see if the difference is better. I hope this will make r-factor easier and better to read for you.
Labels: Web Design