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Old 07-30-2007, 05:31 PM   #1
Hugh Wyn Griffith
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 2,485
Default What do the experts think of this POV?

Been having a discussion over in VAOS, my Off Line Reader that I use for newsgroups in which someone quoted at me when I complained about the developers being mentally locked into a 72 character line length and problems with forced line breaks:

> > The main reason is that EMail standards all say that the line length
> > should be limited to around 70-odd

and I replied, inter alia:

> Well firstly that is surely based on a false, and very out of date,
> assumption of monitor sizes and resolutions?

What's the opinion of the experts here on the following? <s>

<< Actually, I think that you'll find that it goes back to the size of human hands and the resolution of human eyes. The resolution gives you that comfortable sizes of print for reading are around 10~12 characters per inch, and that comfortable sizes of pages for people to hold and scan
across are in the order of 10 inches across. (I'm deliberately violating
my norm of giving measurements in metric units, since these realisations pre-date the development of the metric system. Witness that books are still similar sizes to what was used in the 17th century, and the fonts on the title pages are still of comparable sizes.)

The precise combination of factors that gave us a 72-character line (12cpi typewriting on 8-inch wide paper with 1 inch margins) may be a quirk of history, but the ultimate result would have been broadly similar for the same reasons that cobblers don't make shoes a metre long and that the Space Shuttle's flying characteristics are related to the width of a horses' bum.

There is extensive literature and guidance on making user interfaces which are useable by people with different abilities. >>


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