The maximize madness

I own a 24" monitor with a resolution of 1920x1200 pixel. That's ample space for two DIN-A4-sized windows open side-by-side with plenty of room to share. I can, for example, work on a manuscript in kile, have okular displaying the compiled version right next to it, and still see gkrellm.

Whenever I mention this example, or demonstrate it, people start nodding. They always seem content to agree that wide-screen monitors are useful for displaying several applications at once.

Secretly, however, people love maximized windows. That's at least what I suspect after observing people using their desktop with similarly sized screens. Or when I have a guest who wants to check his/her email. 😏

Said guest would look at my browser window, and get visibly nervous. My browsers are always adjusted to display pages of a width of 1024 pixel in their entire beauty, but not more. 99% of all well-designed pages fall in this category, and, indeed, also the page my guest wanted to visit. But what was she doing? She maximized my browser window – poof!

What's the gain of maximizing a browser? If the website has a fixed width, you just end up with a huge browser window displaying lots of empty space. And if not, you get text lines with a width of 40 cm. Well, I guess the multi-column layout of newspapers and journals with a maximum column width of 8 cm is just old-fashioned. 😏

Why, indeed, are people so much drawn to maximization? Do they have a rational reasoning for their doing, or is all this deeply rooted in their childhood and related to the supressed sexual desire towards their first Atari? I was curious and asked. Here are the most frequent answers:

  • What the heck are you talking about? (30%)
  • My eyes, you know, my eyes! I need that. (20%)
  • I want so see everything, also the things in the corner! (10%)
  • That's just how you do it, you know. (10%)
  • It's ... ehhhh.... you know. (90%)

Now, isn't that just hilarious? 😄 Let me summarize some technical ** facts **:

  • The font of a page does not get bigger when you maximize the browser.
  • Maximizing web pages does not deliver any "hidden" content.
  • Maximizing windows will not magically heal your computer.

The century-years old knowledge of typographs is still valid. For optimum readabilty, text should be not wider than at most 60 characters.

Now, don't just shrug it off, laughing about “these Windows users”. True, the behavior described above is quite characteristic for users of Windows. But I have seen the same behavior even for veteran users of *nix. It's a disease. Help me to limit its spread. 😉

And, by the way: I've seen you maximizing too....

Watching you