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Practising what you preach

April 27, 2010

Bottom line: If you’re going to write articles and create a website all about the user experience (UX), especially the UX of websites, then at least make the site usable and readable for as many users as possible.

One of my RSS feeds displayed an article from the 52 Weeks of UX website. The problem: I could hardly read the article — the image on the left took up much of the space, and the text column on the right was not fluid, i.e. it didn’t reflow the text as I resized the browser window.

I thought the problem was with my feed reader, so I opened the page in Firefox. Same deal. The right side was cut off. I have dual 19″ monitors rotated into portrait mode, but I still had to stretch the browser window a long way across the two monitors to read the article’s text without using the horizontal scroll bar.

Next I checked the code, looking for a link to the CSS file. And to my absolute surprise, I found that the CSS was incorporated directly into the HTML page. That may be because this is a blog-style website. So next I checked the almost unreadable CSS, finally finding the culprit — a fixed 525 px width for articles (.entry-content div, in case you go looking).

This site would be even worse on a small form factor device, such as a cell phone. That fixed width is the killer.

BTW, I also noticed a typo in the keywords — that’ll make it hard for some search engines to find…

[Links last checked April 2010]

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