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I´m working on the new version of this site and I would like some feedback.

The new site has two columns of the same size with information in both, instead of one main content column (bigger) at the left and a sidebar at the right.

Some of the people I know that I´ve asked for their opinion told me that they liked the older site better, but couldn´t exactly tell me why. So I don´t know if they just prefer the old one because they are just used to it.

The older one maybe looks faster because it is cached, in the new one I´m working in a dev version, without any optimization.

Is better to have two columns of the same size instead of the typical sidebar? Could it confuse the user?

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I like the new one better, but that's just my opinion of the first impression. By the way: you might be well advised to edit your question so it asks specific UX related questions. "Please give me some feedback" questions are off topic on this site. See the faq for more information. –  Marjan Venema Feb 1 '13 at 15:49
    
Thanks for the feedback and the tip. I´ve asked here because I´ve asked at the webmasters site where could I have some feedback, and they´ve told me to ask here :) webmasters.stackexchange.com/questions/43066/… –  Rosamunda Rosamunda Feb 1 '13 at 15:52
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We can't help you with individual reviews of sites / UI. That doesn't give any benefit to anyone visiting the site other than yourself. Is there anything in particular about the site you want advice on? (i.e. is 3 columns better than 2 for such a site, or is including a newsletter signup on the homepage beneficial or not). –  JonW Feb 1 '13 at 15:57
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Rosamunda, I fear yor question may quickly get bumped or closed with this general request for feedback. It's a pretty disciplined forum here. Please add specifics to your question. For instance: "Does the two equal column format improve the noticeability of the news articles?". The more specific, the better. –  Itumac Feb 1 '13 at 16:03
    
Thanks for your tips! I´ve modified the question to avoid bumping! (I hope so) –  Rosamunda Rosamunda Feb 1 '13 at 16:13
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3 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Two columns of the same width visually indicate to the user that each column is equally important. Information displayed in either column would thus hold the same amount of value to the user.

If you have made to columns of equal width but the information your are displaying in each is not equal in value then it can lead to user's feeling some sort of 'inadequacy' like you describe.

Of course it could be the load times you mentioned but a small disclaimer about this to the user should give them enough information and keep this from affecting their judgement too much. Users are amazing at ignoring things they already expect to happen. It allows them to focus on what they need and mentally walk around obstructions they already know are there instead of tripping on them.

One instance I can think of where equal column widths would be where you are dragging and dropping data between the column in 2 directions. If you were only doing one direction then one column is probably more important than the other. I don't have a specific use case though.

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Not knowing your business industry nor language, I'd say the version with the wider column + narrow column has a much more distinct visual hierarchy. The wider column, also being first, is clearly the focus, with the sidebar being secondary.

So, if that's the goal--to emphasize one column of content--then that's the one I'd go with.

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I'm having a problem comparing your two versions. Your new version is wider than than the old version giving the illusion that there is more negative space, which I think the old version desperately needed anyways.

However, just looking at the new version by itself, there is no sense of hierarchy of what's important on the page. Atleast with the older version you can tell which column was meant to be the focus.

I would use the old version's layout with the new version's wider width. The best of both worlds.

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