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Robert Julian Powers - User Experience Designer in Louisville, Kentucky

Even Experts Can Be Wrong

I was revisiting some old links that I had bookmarked cam upon Edward Tuftes review of the iPhone. When I first saw this I though “yeah, right on!” But…now that I have revisited and watched the video I have to say, “Wait a minute!”

Tufte brings up some good issues with the weather and stocks, but he states the following about the photo gallery…

“The white frames are too thick and should be in grey, and should be only a single pixel thick.”

I’m wondering on what criteria he is making this statement as he doesn’t really provide any basis for it. In theory it sounds good, but when you start doing the math, it doesn’t work. I’ll explain.

The iPhone screen is 320 x 480 pixels. Each photo icon is 75 pixels square. The padding is 4 pixels around the thumbnails.

(75 x 4) + (4 x 5) = 320 The math works out perfectly
300 pixels are designated for images and 20 pixesl for padding.

If you take 320 – 5 = 315

And then take 315/4 = 78.75

Using a 1 pixel padding leaves nothing evenly spaced. An image cannot be 78.75 pixels.

As for the background color…White, Grey, or Black, it’s moot and doesn’t matter. Just make it neutral.

What’s the moral of this post?
Always question the rational for opinionated statements made on design, regardless of the person position. Design decisions just like business decisions need to be made on empirically based data.

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