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White space can make the layout more balanced and pleasing to the eye. If you remove too much of it, UI becomes too busy & cluttered.
(Although I've used KDE for over a decade, IMHO Gtk apps have typically looked better than KDE apps and I think it was because of more balanced use of white space.)
Whitespace and pixel-fixing
Posted Feb 17, 2011 7:08 UTC (Thu) by sladen (subscriber, #27402)
At the same time, any specification (GNOME HIG) based upon repeated hard-coding of specific pixel-counts is flawed in an age of infinitely scalable vector graphics and 150300 DPI screens!
Posted Feb 17, 2011 10:10 UTC (Thu) by Frej (subscriber, #4165)
Remember, not all widgets are equal. Pixel waste when showing a settings dialog is rarely important, you want clarity and the minimum number of choices possible. Whitespace here has almost zero cost.
Whitespace when showing a list of data has a very high cost. You can show less rows in the same screen, it's an order of magnitude easier to compare data when scrolling is not required. If whitespace were free in this context, gtktreeview rows in rhythmbox/banshee should have no borders at all, we could just increase whitespace to frame each row.
It's not illegal to use 'ink' to frame content if it results in a better ratio of information. Scrolling/sliding windows are a special case because a smaller row hight allows you to present more data, without scrolling.
Also about the HIG.
I think it's unfair to call it flawed because a (min. 10 year old) documents states something in pixels. Pixels are the mechanism, not the goal. It's pretty easy to rephrase the points in.. say em. Second the gnome HIG is for the desktop. Not phones.
I don't see laptop screens changing DPI soon (ie 250+). The work is just too high. Even the traces of resolution independence in OS X 10.6 were lower than in 10.5 (arstechnica). Of course if somebody invents the dual mode DPI screen as way to go forward we might get there. It is different for phones, new platform no legacy and all that. But high DPI would certainly be nice.
I don't believe in porting the same app from desktop to android/iphone without changing the layout anyway.
Lastly. davidz has actually tried to get a resolution independent GTK (although his works dates back to 2008, and danni did pick up the branch, but it seems dead). That's the actual hard work. Not changing the HIG - it just represents what's possible. Cairo was also required work, and was required work before gtk could be changed sensibly.
But i sense this is 1) getting off topic 2) Nitpicking on gtk.
Posted Feb 18, 2011 16:29 UTC (Fri) by droundy (subscriber, #4559)
I strongly disagree, in the common case that setup dialogs do not have scroll bars and the ability to be resized to fit the screen. I don't care to count the number of times that I couldn't hit "apply" because I couldn't see the bottom of the screen. And in worse cases, you also can't see some of the actual settings. (examples: google chrome, firefox, epiphany and empathy all have settings dialogs that either have a fixed minimum size or can be resized to be smaller, but then the content isn't visible.)
Of course, the proper solution is to make all dialog boxes resizeable with reasonable behavior (i.e. scrollbars) when they are smaller than their content.
Posted Feb 23, 2011 19:59 UTC (Wed) by mrshiny (subscriber, #4266)
Unlike fonts, Whitespace not easily user adjustible.
Posted Mar 11, 2011 14:35 UTC (Fri) by gmatht (guest, #58961)
It is kind of silly that I upgraded my netbook to one with 768 pixels, not some much because my eyes can tell the difference on a 10" screen, but because it allows me to shrink the otherwise unshrinkable whitespace. I did a mockup  demonstrating that it should be possible to have usable buttons (etc) in as little as 11 vertical pixels including white space. If had the option of shrinking dialogs down that small even the 480 pixel screen on the original Eeepc would start being usable for most applications.
Posted Feb 28, 2011 2:58 UTC (Mon) by JamesOnTheWay (guest, #73205)
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