If Content is King, Why Can’t I See It?

I bought a MacBook Air laptop last year, and I deliberately chose the smaller, 11′ model. I love it. It’s small, light, easy to use. The battery life is around 8 hours (Apple says up to 9) and it recharges super quickly.

What I don’t love is how various websites appear on the smaller screen. Let me show you what I mean, the image on the left is from my laptop, the one on the right from my desktop.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

There are a couple of things going on here;

  • the fashion for large, attention getting images at the top of an article
  • the fashion for large, attention getting images at the top of a page (eg; twitter’s profile pages)
  • increasingly large banner advertisements.
  • the myth that people don’t mind scrolling any more – it’s annoying if you have to scroll to see any content.

I’ve been involved in website re-designs and re-launches over the years and it’s become increasingly challenging to design something that works on all screen sizes, all  browsers and all devices.

Web analytics can provide designers with information about the devices and the screen sizes used, and if a website is design using the principles of responsive design then the same content can be served in a layout optimised for screen size. Of the examples in the slideshow above Mashable and VentureBeat (a wordpress site) both use responsive design, but it doesn’t seem to help. Of course it’s possible that they haven’t considered a separate template for an 11′ screen in setting that up. And by the way – this is not the only model of laptop with a small screen.

So web designers please please please! On your next redesign test – with ads – on a small screen. I really want to read  your content.

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