The displays of the world are getting wider. For those of us who work, this is not progress. Sure, wide-screen computer screens look cool, but in the real world of working on laptops, a wide-screen display is an ergonomic step backwards.
Before I slam the move to wide-screen computers, I will gladly admit that for entertainment content, wide-screen works. Our eyes are side-by-side, after all, and having a story unfold in a way that more closely respects how we see gives a more engrossing, absorbing experience. Wide-screen plasma and LCD television sets make sense, as do CinemaScope movie theaters.
But when we have work to do, the fact that our eyes are set up to spot a herd of jackals approaching us over the plain becomes irrelevant. For most people, the world of work is in portrait mode, and wide-screen displays offer scant benefits.
Like reading a page of text or a book, most Web sites are set up with strong vertical orientation. That works for text-based material, since wide lines of text, longer than about 60 characters, become hard to read (the reader has a hard time finding the beginning of the next line). … Read more