I like to use my six-year-old daugh­ter as a reminder of how basic com­put­er users use the web.

This morn­ing she was try­ing to use a site that was designed for a 900×600 brows­er view­ing size. Even though we have our monitor’s res­o­lu­tion set to 1024×768 and our brows­er is max­imised, we also have the Fire­fox and Google side­bars open at all times. This gives us a view­ing space of rough­ly 800 pix­els wide.

As a result, the con­tent of the page was cut­off on the right—the pre­cise loca­tion where the “Go” link is locat­ed. This meant, of course, that my daugh­ter could not con­tin­ue to the page where she could play the game.

I did not say any­thing to her because I want­ed to see what her nat­ur­al response would be. Even though there was a hor­i­zon­tal side­bar avail­able, she did not use it. Rather she shut down the Fire­fox side­bar.

I found this inter­est­ing. I have heard peo­ple who design for larg­er page widths state that if users can­not see the con­tent on the right, they can just scroll hor­i­zon­tal­ly. after all, it does­nt take much effort.

Now I am left to won­der if basic com­put­er users even realise there is a hor­i­zon­tal scroll­bar in such an event.

About Kim Siever

I am a copy­writer and copy­ed­i­tor. I blog on writ­ing tips most­ly, but I some­times throw in my thoughts about run­ning a small busi­ness.

Fol­low me on Twit­ter at @hotpepper.

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