Last modified: 2014-06-01 13:51:34 UTC
On small displays such as the very popular Eee PC there are quite a few Wikipedia articles that don't quite fit the width of the screen even with the browser in fullscreen mode.
Other sites such as Google Reader allow the user to fold or collapse the sidebar so as to provide maximum width for formatting the important content.
You can select an alternate skin in your preferences, though this isn't necessarily ideal.
I think this should be a userscript/gadget, like [[User:js/bottomSidebar]] (mine) or [[User talk:Gerbrant/hidePane.js]]
Turning off CSS will do this. Also see bug 7020, which is related. Maybe we should use media queries!
This probably doesn't need to be in the core, a job for the gadgets. Reopen if you disagree.
I do disagree, which is why I didn't WONTFIX this bug when I commented before, and presumably neither Brion or Siebrand particularly agreed either, by the same logic. This is not a job for JS, it's a job for CSS, and if possible it should be automatically supported in the core software (using, e.g., media queries). Subnotebooks look to be becoming more popular, and it would be nice if we could support their lower resolutions cleanly and without extra configuration.
A gadget exists on Commons:
Orignally written to be automatically loaded for all users that match the iPad user agent. but can be used as a normal gadget as well.
Created attachment 9694 [details]
Waste of space
Currently if a reader starts to read a long article, he will soon get to the point where there is nothing in the sidebar (because the useful links are in the beggining of the page, and there is no other languages to show), so for the remaining 80% (or more) of the page, there will be a lot of wasted space on the left. It could be useful to provide by default some way to get the full width of the screen used for displaying the article content, or alternativelly, to bring the sidebar links down while scrolling the page.
See screenshot and some random long page from
found a fix for this https://gerrit.wikimedia.org/r/#/c/52781/
(In reply to comment #8)
> Waste of space
Not at all. The wider the lines the more difficult is to read them. This is a basic usability principle. Just check any decent website with long pages out there.
(See also bug 44387.)
(In reply to comment #10)
> (In reply to comment #8)
> > Waste of space
> Not at all. The wider the lines the more difficult is to read them. This is a
> basic usability principle. Just check any decent website with long pages out
I disagree with your assessment Quim, I have three screens on my desktop and one of them is portrait oriented in order to read long pages. I also have friends that complain about the sidebar when reading wikipedia on their tablet or cell phone.
I have other thoughts about the sidebar as well. Not only should the user be able to position it at any of the four poles or hide it all together. It should be offered to have it set to an absolute position so that scrolling the page up and down doesn't make it scroll off the page. Just my thoughts.
Quim Gil's comment is in fact correct. Very wide paragraphs of text are in fact hard to read. The reader is forced to move their head more and it becomes difficult to find the start of the next line. Likewise when a paragraph of text is too narrow the reader is forced to break to the next line too often breaking the flow of their reading. There is an optimum range for the width of a paragraph of text.
And white space is not a waste. White space between things de-clutters pages giving things room to breathe and separating unrelated stuff.
The white area below the sidebar is not the problem. The problem is that these small and portrait screens don't have the space to fit both the optimal paragraph width and the width of a sidebar.
At the same time our current navigation isn't very well suited to alternate forms of display.
https://gerrit.wikimedia.org/r/52781 (Gerrit Change Ie5dbcdc6efe15ea9ad6708c98ac5979deb7e29c5) | change ABANDONED [by Rjain]
(In reply to comment #13)
> Quim Gil's comment is in fact correct. Very wide paragraphs of text are in
> fact hard to read. The reader is forced to move their head more and it becomes
> difficult to find the start of the next line. Likewise when a paragraph of
> text is too narrow the reader is forced to break to the next line too often
> breaking the flow of their reading. There is an optimum range for the width of a
> paragraph of text.
That wasn't being debated (at least not by me).
> And white space is not a waste. White space between things de-clutters pages
> giving things room to breathe and separating unrelated stuff.
That is true, yet again only on wide-screens.
> The white area below the sidebar is not the problem. The problem is that
> these small and portrait screens don't have the space to fit both the optimal
> paragraph width and the width of a sidebar.
Not sure what your point is with the first sentence of this comment. My comment regarding fixing the sidebar location (I incorrectly used the word absolute) was so that when you are at the bottom of a very long page, you still have easy access to all of the links that it offers without having to scroll ALL the way back to the top (and no, keyboard shortcuts don't exist on my mobile phone). For that matter, perhaps the top section shouldn't scroll either to have easy access to the edit link or other links, although...
> At the same time our current navigation isn't very well suited to alternate
> forms of display.
(In reply to comment #15)
> My comment regarding fixing the sidebar location was so that when you are
> at the bottom of a very long page, you still have easy access
> to all of the links that it offers without having to scroll
> ALL the way back to the top (and no, keyboard shortcuts don't exist on my
> mobile phone). For that matter, perhaps the top section shouldn't scroll
> either to have easy access to the edit link or other links
You might find this interesting to try: http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Waldir/vector.css/fixednav.css
(In reply to comment #16)
> You might find this interesting to try:
To give it a try, place this in your vector.css:
/* Fixed navigation (keep top tabs and sidebar always in place, only scroll the content */
In case you've not clicked the link above: this was done in Translate (for Special:Translate only), bug 45836. You can see it on [[m:Special:Translate]].
There is also https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/MediaWiki:Gadget-AutohidePanel.css , 2012, Vector-only, 48 users on it.wiki.