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It's a little thing but I noticed that both google plus and facebook do not exactly line up the name of the user and their photo-the name is slightly lower than the top of the photo. Is this a technical issue due to the line-height or intentional so I see the photo first, or something else?

Also, do you think the negative space under the user's photo is to make the feed more digestible (they seem to be like exdents).

example

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Can you link to a screenshot of what you're talking about? –  Rahul Jul 19 '11 at 18:03
    
just added one :) See how the username does not line up with the top of the user's photo, and note the negative space under the photos –  Sean Jul 19 '11 at 18:24
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In Google+'s case it's line-height. Select the text and you'll notice the blue highlight aligns perfectly with the top edge of the image. –  Rahul Jul 19 '11 at 19:58
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2 Answers

I am just going to respond to part of your question so as not repeat the helpful answers already posted. You asked, "Also, do you think the negative space under the user's photo is to make the feed more digestible (they seem to be like exdents)?"

Yes, definitely! There has been a ton of research about line length and readability. 50-60 characters per line used to be the default ideal line length, although more recent research suggests longer line length (70-80 characters) might be better. I personally think it has a lot to do with the audience, though I have not personally done any research on the topic.The folks behind Google+ gave some serious thought to line length, and more importantly made an effort to keep line length fixed instead of shifting around when the browser window is resized. Here are some good articles about line length and readability to get you started if you wish to learn more:

http://baymard.com/blog/line-length-readability
http://www.456bereastreet.com/archive/200509/line_length_and_readability/

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That's great-thank you :) –  Sean Jul 20 '11 at 19:29
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On Facebook, it looks as though the user's name has been deliberately padded from the top to allow the background colour to be optionally set without changing the structure.

When this is done, suddenly the names look much more in place:

Facebook profile name with background tint added

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+1 - great point –  Roger Attrill Jul 19 '11 at 19:54
    
Yeah for sure. Thanks for the answer-I notice this site also does it. –  Sean Jul 19 '11 at 19:57
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