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Medium is Winning (m50d.github.io)
18 points by lmm 1347 days ago | hide | past | web | 39 comments | favorite

I wish I could read that article, but full-width sentences and tiny typeface are painful. The beautiful large typography and layout of Medium is one reason it's winning, despite its sometimes laughable content.

Not only it's completely unreadable, but it's way too long. I bet I could make the same point in a couple paragraphs, tops.

People who show no hesitation in throwing a wall of text at other people show how much they really care about the reader's time.

Yeah, well, that's just, like, your opinion, man.

Not everyone writes with you in mind as their ideal reader. Some people write for themselves and publish to keep themselves honest, though I don't presume to know what OP's motives and goals are in this case.

It's still not a bad idea for the OP to know conventions/standards in case (s)he decides to write something for the public. The OP's HN profile does point to the blog, which tells me other people were in mind during the writing process.

If I put a note in my profile that I like full-width text (like HN) and think the font size (larger than HN) is reasonable, do you think that'll stop me getting these same comments every time I post something to HN?

Since you're posting your articles to HN, you obviously want people to read what you write. If you want more people to read your writing, then consider making it more accessible and easier on the eyes.

People exist with visual disabilities and giant walls of text in layouts such as yours might as well be a magic eye puzzle.

Yes, you like it and can do what you want, but you're throwing sand in the eyes of people you want to read your stuff.

HN itself has wider text and smaller fonts than my site. So it should be in line with what the HN readership (taken as a whole) likes. (Yes, I see more complaints than compliments, but that's always to be expected)

Visual disabilities are an argument for having a font size consistent with the rest of the web and a site where browser zoom works, not for making your text larger than the rest of the web.

If you always see more complaints than compliments, why not trying to change and see if the audience reacts better?

Because I see the same thing for any site posted to HN, no matter what the design is. So I don't think it's evidence of anything.

In Chrome, the "Zoom In" command is in the View menu.

Zoomed in by two increments (125%), the font size and margins of the article become reasonably close to the Medium gold standard. Hopefully this may help you finish reading the article.</mildsarcasm>

I already browse at 125%. It takes 200% to get to a comfortable readable level, and that doesn't address full width sentences. Too much effort for a wall of text.

Typography matters.

If you don't like reading text at that width, why's your browser that width? Surely you don't want to have 2/3 of your screen blank white.

Or you could try designing a better site if you want people to read your content. Trust me, I'm sure we can all live without it. Line length should never be that long. Also, many sites are not just one column of text so there are many reasons I would have my browser this size.

You can put a lot of stuff in the other 2/3. Stuff that readers will enjoy. I keep a top post widget on my own blog. People seem to like it, and I know I like having easy access to more stuff from a writer whose words I didn't mind reading. The aversion to criticism you've shown in this thread makes me think I won't want to see anything else from you, so maybe it's for the better in your case.

> You can put a lot of stuff in the other 2/3. Stuff that readers will enjoy. I keep a top post widget on my own blog. People seem to like it, and I know I like having easy access to more stuff from a writer whose words I didn't mind reading

I found that kind of stuff offputting. It was one of the things I really noticed when thinking about why I preferred to read on Medium: there are a few social things at the end and those very subtle comment things, but for most of the time while one's reading it really is 2/3 blank white. (I sometimes use clearly to make medium wider - didn't want to complicate the post by mentioning that).

> The aversion to criticism you've shown in this thread makes me think I won't want to see anything else from you, so maybe it's for the better in your case.

Sorry to hear that. I was pleasantly surprised the post made the front page, pleased to see 7 comments... and then it turned out none of them were engaging with my words, they were all just complaining about the presentation (and worse, they're all the same complaints, and ones I've seen before. I don't know what I'm supposed to do about this (given that I'm happy with the design and disagree with those complaints) - I doubt people would read a FAQ).

Which I guess is what I get for writing a post on the subject of presentation, but it was still pretty disappointing.

Presentation is everything. It's not just a cliche they put in business books and MBA lectures. Screen-width text is fine if you only want it read by people with the patience to use third party tools for an unknown author.

I prefer full-width; I find it more readable, and I wish more sites would use it. Given that, it would feel hypocritical to not use full-width text on my own site.

Many websites assume you have at least 1024x768. Trying to browse at less than that without some kind of intrusive style munger is awkward.

I also made the window half-size to reduce the line length... ugh.

Hey imm, could you just really quickly replace your stylesheet with this?

header h1 { margin-bottom:3px; margin-top:3px; }

nav a { padding-top: 10px; padding-bottom: 10px; padding-right: 10px; }

h1 a { text-decoration:none; color:black; }

h1 a:hover { font-weight:bold; font-size:105%; text-decoration:underline; }

body { padding:20px; font-size:120%; }

p, li { max-width:800px; }

li { margin-bottom:6px; }

small { font-size:75%; }

You misspell my name, you talk down to me, you didn't even take a superficial look at my source or you'd realize the stylesheet is external, part of strapdownjs. No.

Wow. Try this next time:

> Hey, thanks! I didn't write the css, and I can't change it, but I appreciate you trying to help :)

"could you just really quickly" is a long way from a sincere attempt to help.

Only if you have an ego that shatters at the lightest feedback.

Going to need those TPS reports.

Your stupid website can't display plain old text in a reasonable format without JavaScript. Go fix your stupid site.


Using a long-forgotten element to disable line breaking is pointlessly painful, but isn't as bad as some people get when they think every text processing tool runs javascript. The author sounded clued-in enough to know CSS, I don't know why he would think that doing it all in javascript isn't strictly worse.

I dislike Medium disabling pinchzoom for mobile devices (user-scalable="no"). I have no idea why they think this is a good idea.

It is to avoid the 300 ms lag waiting for a second touch to zoom.

Why would a text content site care about a 300 msec click delay?

probably to reduce click delay, which may not be a useful thing given that people are mostly reading on medium, not clicking.

The notes and recommend button probably lead to a lot of clicking.

I'm not a big fan of Medium's hip UI, to be fair. I also find their options to be awkwardly placed. It took me a while to figure out where the "sign out" button was when I first used it, for instance.

[Warn: a bit promotional]

I'd like to have your opinion on Theneeds [1]. It can't be compared to Medium as we're not for blogging, but we do a lot of personalization/recommendation.

At signup you select your interests and we build personalized streams of curated content mixed with user generated one. Then, we learn from your activity to get smarted about what really matters to you.

Moreover, we have a newsletter (default daily, but you can change the frequency) where we recommend you 8 news across your interests.

[1] http://www.theneeds.com

not sure if it's just me but clicking the windows store link opens the store app's "home screen" instead of your app's download screen.

Thanks a lot for the feedback.

I guess you mean for Windows 8? Which market are you in? As the app is only available in the US + a few others (eng speaking).

[This is also a bit promotional]

Although I do think Medium is doing a great job of letting you discover some good reading material, I often find it a bit confusing too.

Not too long I co-created http://thetechblock.com out of similar frustration of not being able to find good tech-related articles. Reddit often doesn't show the stuff we find, Techmeme is very Silicon Valley oriented and HN can get a bit noisy. Feel free to let me know what you guys think.

Holy readability, batman.

"So it's ironic that, despite all these established old-media recommendation engines, there was nothing for one of my favourite media - online articles."

Prismatic[0] comes to mind.

[0]: http://getprismatic.com

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