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Are you going to remove the dumb stupid narrow body width?

    Question

  • Sorry to be so blunt, but the recent change to the metro MSDN forum design left the thread body painfully narrow. Once you were down about one or two levels of reply, the text was squashed into a fairly small space, making it harder to read, and requiring a lot more scrolling.

    All that would have been OK (well, annoying, but not the end of the world), but the narrow body means that any code posted usually requires a horizontal scroll to read the full line. Given that these are MSDN forums, and that the D in MSDN stands for "Developer" it's not unreasonable to assume that there will be a fair amount of code posted. For me, this is a huge issue with this latest design.

    According to W3Schools, most people today use monitors with a width of at least 1024 pixels, and bearing in mind that most developers have monitors significantly bigger than that, then this narrow fixed thread width is ridiculous.

    Please allow the thread body to take up the full width of the browser window, once you've taken out the space used by the sidebars. There is absolutely NO reason for us to have to stare at a huge expanse of wasted space, when it could be used for content. If it's too wide to read comfortably, then we are all clever enough to resize our browser windows to make them a comfortable size. We don't need some dee-ziner forcing us down the path of lowest sense.

    Thanks for listening.


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    Tuesday, June 18, 2013 8:53 AM

All replies

  • My expectation is that the new design will use more of the display width. Quoting from the announcement:

    Better use of page real-estate – In addition to a more modern looking UI, we have emphasized the use of page real-estate… both horizontally and vertically! You now have the ability to ‘snap’ the content over if they desire to utilize more space.


    Richard Mueller - MVP Directory Services

    Tuesday, June 18, 2013 3:39 PM
  • Hi Richard, thanks for the reply.

    Let's hope you're right, it drives me mad the way it is now!


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    Tuesday, June 18, 2013 3:57 PM
  • Unfortunately no - you can see from the videos (ie: http://content5.catalog.video.msn.com/e2/ds/2b5b1bf4-1b3f-4040-8497-63c5cd536c0f.mp4 ) that the narrow width is still being used.


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    Tuesday, June 18, 2013 4:02 PM
  • We are still using a fixed width but users can 'snap' the content over. If you have trouble viewing threads with Threaded List View you can always switch to the Flat List View in your user settings, this will maximize the horizontal space used even further.

    Forums Program Manager

    Tuesday, June 18, 2013 4:25 PM
    Administrator
  • We are still using a fixed width but users can 'snap' the content over. If you have trouble viewing threads with Threaded List View you can always switch to the Flat List View in your user settings, this will maximize the horizontal space used even further.

    Forums Program Manager

    Why are you using a fixed-width design in the first place? That was OK in the 90s (well, it wasn't, but people did it all the same), but we've grown up since then. Screen resolutions have increased dramatically, and so have browser widths.Design experts have transformed the way we view the web, and most people have realised that standards-compliant fluid layouts are the right thing. Fixed width layouts just don't work for everyone, and bring little or no benefit to anyone.

    Why are you forcing us all down to the lowest common denominator?


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    If you're really bored, you could read about my experiments with .NET and some of Microsoft's newer technologies at http://dotnetwhatnot.pixata.co.uk/

    Thursday, June 20, 2013 5:18 PM
  • The only place to use fixed-width designs is when you're displaying content that is a known fixed width. 

    Imgur.com is a good example. They know exactly what content they need to display, and they can rightfully restrict it to a narrow sliver of my 1080p monitor. Twitter and Facebook are other good examples.

    In any site that relies on unknown content (especially code!) needs to be able to expand to take up as much as I, the user, deem appropriate. What ever happened to my browser being my window onto the Internet? It all started going down hill when designers discovered they could change the way my browser behaves (back buttons, right clicking, scrollbars!)

    Thursday, June 20, 2013 6:32 PM
  • The sad thing is that they still haven't learned. This new design uses more width, which is good, but still leaves me with wads of white space on either side.

    Ho hum, welcome back to the '90s!


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    If you're really bored, you could read about my experiments with .NET and some of Microsoft's newer technologies at http://dotnetwhatnot.pixata.co.uk/

    Monday, June 24, 2013 1:50 PM
  • Each forum brand (e.g. windev, wpdev, office, technet etc) decides its own width restrictions. The limitation is shared with other content within the same brand.

    You can find hacks to get around the limitation, see http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/97533062-ecb1-43d3-a98d-a53358281870/full-width-forum-view-css-script-for-injection and http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/7f8eeb79-ae19-4cd3-91d2-5cb39495db81/workaround-force-full-width-on-forums.



    Visual C++ MVP

    Monday, August 19, 2013 11:15 PM
  • OK, so people have found hacks, which will work as long as Microsoft don't change anything, but why do we have to hack it in the first place? Fixed-width designs are counter-productive. This has been a known fact in human-machine interface design for well over a decade.

    Why does Microsoft have to force us down to a width that is significantly smaller than the average monitor? Given that these forums are for developers, who generally have wider monitors than average users, the question becomes even stronger. Look at the amount of code posted in these forums. You have to scroll horizontally - a known usability issue - to read most of it.


    FREE custom controls for Lightswitch! A collection of useful controls for Lightswitch developers. Download from the Visual Studio Gallery.

    If you're really bored, you could read about my experiments with .NET and some of Microsoft's newer technologies at http://dotnetwhatnot.pixata.co.uk/

    Tuesday, August 20, 2013 1:42 PM
  • The need to scroll both up/down and right/left to read code makes it unusable. This applies to the forums and the TechNet Wiki as well. I'd much rather see code word wrap, although best would be to use more horizontal screen space.


    Richard Mueller - MVP Directory Services

    Tuesday, August 20, 2013 3:07 PM
  • I agree.

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    Thursday, August 29, 2013 2:02 AM