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It's easy enough to add generous whitespace and make a design instantly more elegant and viscerally appealing, but when you are trying to extract value from information there is something to be said for information density.

This is my beef with the new Sparrow Gmail client on OS X as well. When I open up Gmail in Chrome I can see 33 messages at once (40 once I scroll). By contrast Sparrow shows me 13 (always utilizing the full vertical of the screen). Now arguably it presents them in a better fashion (although the label display is lacking, but I digress), but is it worth sacrificing 2/3rds the visibility? Not with my email volume.

Granted, information density is less important for HN, but then so is aesthetic appeal (the last thing I want is more people joining HN because it has an elegant appearance).

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