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Cover image for UI Trends: Center Column Squeezing
John Peters
John Peters

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UI Trends: Center Column Squeezing

We've just opened our desktop browser to full screen and clicked on a link to one of the sites below. Our browser zoom is 100%.

  • Dev.To,
  • FaceBook
  • LinkedIn,
  • Git Api Docs

The important column; which is either column (two or three) in a four column layout is squeezed as shown below.

High Resolution and Wide Monitors show this:

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Here's a random 'current' API doc on Git. In this one, the left hand menu item is not resizable.

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Probably the most wasted space of all.

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Good Examples

  • StackOverFlow

Passable but just barely.

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  • Google Developer Docs

At first, it looks like too much space, but a browser resize will collapse both asides and just show important stuff, like this. Great example of responsive focusing on 'important stuff'.

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  • Amazon At it for over 15 years now.

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  • Azure

Microsoft wakes up, in their new designs.

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  • .NET Core
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  • Gmail

KISS (Keep it stupid simple)
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  • MDN KISS Alt Text

Note: I don't claim to be an expert stylist; however, as a programmer; I read tons of material daily. I am a smart user of programming information. If I have to fuss with it too much to read it better, I'm apt to quit using that site altogether.

Sites I've quit over the years:

  • Any Medium site
  • Most sites that are not updated often.
  • Secondary sites that do not have the Subject Matter Expertise I require.
  • Any API or Training site which hides a table of content. This forces continual searches.
  • Any site who has a built-in search that doesn't work well.

Smart Users know their stuff, as developers we owe a good experience to them.

Take Away

  • The mobile first philosophy is good, but don't forget wide screen and high res desktop monitors
  • Responsive sites, should always favor the stuff our users are there to read.
  • Collapse asides when resizing width and focus only on the center column.
  • Get rid of outdated layout styles and favor fully responsive sites that adapt to any width and resolution.
  • Continuously improve.

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