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Around 30% of screen in my browser used just to show panels, not questions.
Please, look at screenshot, I drew how can it be improved:
enter image description here

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The drawing doesn't really tell me anything at all. How do you propose that we display large swatches of horizontal information into a compressed, primarily vertical space? It would be much more useful to create a mockup of your proposed design. –  Cody Gray Aug 14 '11 at 15:05
    
@Cody Gray I'm not designer. Tabs "Questions", "Tags" etc. can be moved without any compression, just put them not in line but in row. Same for "Tagged questions" tabs. And description of tag can be "closed" without any compression, and it's definitely worth to do. –  OZ_ Aug 14 '11 at 15:08
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The same task could be achieved by allowing those sections to be collapsible, and let the users decide if they wants them collapsed by default, or not. –  kiamlaluno Aug 14 '11 at 15:10
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You can't propose a major change to a design, and then when asked to explain how exactly you'd implement that change, say "I'm not [a] designer". If you're not a designer, leave the design to the designers. If you'd like to make a suggestion, then go all the way and include a design mockup. –  Cody Gray Aug 14 '11 at 15:10
    
@Cody Gray I shouldn't to be a designer to say "please, move this stupid tabs to the left panel, they took too much of useful space", I'm user and designers should read and understand user's feedback. –  OZ_ Aug 14 '11 at 15:13
    
@kiamlaluno Thanks for understanding. I hope not all designers are unfriendly like Cody Gray. –  OZ_ Aug 14 '11 at 15:15
    
@kiamlaluno post your comment as answer, I'll accept it. –  OZ_ Aug 14 '11 at 15:20
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Not sure what's unfriendly about asking for a more complete feature request. Sorry you were offended. I'm not a designer, either. –  Cody Gray Aug 14 '11 at 15:34
    
I was already writing that as answer, when you wrote your comment. :-) –  kiamlaluno Aug 14 '11 at 15:45
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2 Answers

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Using a screen resolution of 1600x900, I have space in both the left and the right side, even without using a windows as width as the full screen, but that is not what happen with lower resolutions (as you can see from Paŭlo Ebermann's screenshot).

screenshot

Changing those sections from horizontal to vertical is not a good idea, IMO. It would not resolve the issue for everybody, and some users would get a worse user interface. (Maybe having those sections in vertical is not a good idea for who uses higher resolutions either.)

If something can be done is to allow those sections (where they are are now) to be collapsible, and let the users decide of they want those sections collapsed by default. Naturally, if the users don't change the setting, those sections should be visible by default, and there would be an element in the user interface that allows to collapse them, or show them again.
It is also true that those navigation links placed on the top are normally not collapsible. You can see, as example, what done on Drupal.org, where the links on the top are not collapsible.

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If we made them collapsible, we'd immediately get a bunch of "Eeeeek! Where did X go?" meta questions. And I don't really understand what the benefit of this would be in terms of usability. Persistent navigation is a huge boon to usability and helps keep users from feeling "lost". –  Cody Gray Aug 14 '11 at 16:01
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@Cody Gray That is why I wrote " if the users don't change the setting, those sections should be visible by default." That means they would be collapsible only if the users select to collapse those sections; If the setting is descriptive enough, then users should not complain about something they selected to be collapsible. In the same way, they should not complain if they don't see those questions tagged with one of the tags they choose to ignore, when they have selected the option to hide those questions. –  kiamlaluno Aug 14 '11 at 16:07
    
Perhaps they "should not complain", but they do. We get lots of those questions here. I just don't think you gain much of anything for the cost. –  Cody Gray Aug 14 '11 at 16:09
    
+1 for the meta meta screen cap. –  ckittel Aug 14 '11 at 16:10
    
I am not saying that sections must be collapsible; I am saying that rather than placing them to the left, it would be better to have them in the same place, but collapsible. By collapsible I mean that they are hidden, and by clicking on an element on the page they would become visible again; when they are visible, they would be collapsed by using the same element. –  kiamlaluno Aug 14 '11 at 16:10
    
@Cody Gray Yet, the feature for hiding questions tagged with one of the ignored tags has been implemented. I agree that navigation links like the ones shown on the top are normally not collapsible, as it is done on drupal.org too. –  kiamlaluno Aug 14 '11 at 16:22
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This might work on your screen, but on my one there simply is no space at the left page border.

my screenshot

I think the page width is adapted at a screen width of 1024 pixels ... just what my screen is. If you want to put the navigation elements left instead of on the top, this either has the result that I have to scroll horizontally, or that the horizontal space for the questions will shrink - which mean that you in effect will have less "space for useful information".

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Thanks. So the only way is to make them "collapsible". –  OZ_ Aug 14 '11 at 15:19
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Correct. Vertical scrolling is always preferable to horizontal scrolling. –  Cody Gray Aug 14 '11 at 15:19
    
@Cody: An alternative would be to have only horizontal scrolling (= no vertical one), but this is nowadays quite difficult to do in a webbrowser. –  Paŭlo Ebermann Aug 15 '11 at 8:14
    
I disagree. I still have lots of mice without a horizontal scroll thingy. They do vertical scrolling just fine, though. –  Cody Gray Aug 15 '11 at 9:53
    
Yeah, one would have the vertical scroll wheel do horizontal scrolling then. As I said, it is not really a good idea currently for websites. (And of course, you wouldn't want to scroll for each line, but have multiple columns, each of height = browser window height.) –  Paŭlo Ebermann Aug 15 '11 at 9:56
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