Monday, November 26, 2012

More Silly UX

Searching for "Humphrys Entwistle interview" (OK, full disclosure.  I actually searched for "Humphreys ...") to see one of the BBC's own interviewers "shred" its director general on air, I ran across this page from the Grauniad.  It's a fine example of why web pages should not try to re-invent features, in this case displaying text, that are already widely implemented.

The text transcript of the interview, set in a typewriter font presumably so you can pretend that the Grauniad's staff of crack transcribers just typed it up fresh for you, was a little small for me to read comfortably.  Not to worry, though.  There's a zoom slider.

Slide the slider and the whole document gets bigger within the fixed-sized window on the page.  On the plus side, the text is now easily legible.  On the not-so-much side, half of it is now hidden.  Not to worry, though.  There's a horizontal scroll bar so you can scoot back and forth for every single line in order to read what's there.

Sorry, no, thanks.  Life is too short for horizontal scroll bars on text.  You'd think an organization with its roots in printing text in narrow, readable columns would get that.  I can't think of any situations where, if the idea is just to get the content of the text across, the right answer is anything other than formatting it into whatever column is available.  If the reader wants larger text, then make the words bigger and wrap the text -- like you would anyway -- with fewer words per line.

Or you could spend a fair bit of effort implementing a clever-looking but near-useless solution to a simple non-problem.

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