I am developing a RSS news feeder. I want to keep it minimal and just to the point, that is the posts.

Some bloggers that post news mainly, sometimes they just write content like "You have to look at this", "It is awesome that Marc won the trophy, see the video". A post's image is about 95px height and as you can see in image number 1, there is a lot of empty/unused space that bothers me.

So I thought to have the size of a post as big (with a max-height of course) as the content of it. Doing this, posts with only one line of content will have a decreased preview as shown in image number 2.

In my eyes, with this way, the web site is more solid and looking better.

My question is what about users? Does this have a negative affect on them or their interaction?

How does image size affect their interaction ?

First image, all the posts are shown with the same size

Images are shown depending on their size.

enter image description here

  • Very good question. Commented Sep 21, 2011 at 11:41

2 Answers 2


The page doesn't have to be solid!

Consistency of image size forces consistent height to each section of content and this makes the content more scannable. It's easier to scan down a group of chunks of similar size. Even more so when scrolling down where you can scroll at consistent speed without slowing down and speeding up.

Imagine scanning down Twitter if all the images were the height of the message - 1, 2 ,or 3 lines. It's one thing I find annoying about the Stack Exchange chat areas - that the avatar images change size and and usernames change their relative position to the image, according to the length of the message - it just doesn't scan well.

Inclusion of whitespace is a good thing to design in, so as to break up the page a bit. It is the images that are the focal points anyway, so I suggest keeping them the same size.

One suggestion though - could you make it a user setting for the size of preview thumbnail - big or small for example so that (using consistently sized sections), you can fit more or less on the screen. i.e. you still show all the images the same size, but show more or less of the post preview - say title line + source/date line and either 2 or 4 lines of preview text.

For example the images below - bigger on left, smaller on right.

enter image description here

  • How does image size affect this?
    – EnexoOnoma
    Commented Sep 21, 2011 at 10:20
  • @Nikolai edited with more detail Commented Sep 21, 2011 at 10:44
  • Thank you for all this valuable info. To clear up my mind, you telling me to have a setting of increasing the content of post preview if a user feels more comfortable with this ?
    – EnexoOnoma
    Commented Sep 21, 2011 at 11:29
  • 1
    I second @RogerAttrill, inconsistant image sizes in this context just bug me. Plus, edge case, what if an image is super tiny/missing? Would the cell for that image just be unreadably small?
    – Ben Brocka
    Commented Sep 21, 2011 at 13:13
  • 1
    @Nikolai I would say the height is the most important dimension as that's the axis you're scrolling and the axis that differentiates the content. Inconsistent height will also mean an inconsistent number of items on any given "screen"'s worth of display
    – Ben Brocka
    Commented Sep 21, 2011 at 15:51

When reading something you sub-consciously attach meaning to font size, colour and weight. If you make the font size larger for smaller posts, you are in effect saying that they are in some way different from those with smaller fonts (usually read as more important).

If this is your intention, then great, but be aware of the secondary effects of this change.

Whitespace is a design element in itself, and not something to be minimised.

Edit: If you opt to have different preview sizes, you may end up with the same problem. If it's a preview, you only need to show a sentence or two at most. So if this is a problem, then maybe your preview isn't really a preview after all.

  • Thank you but I don't want to make the font size larger of smaller posts. I asked if it is ok to descrease the size of post preview on smaller posts. Excuse me if I didn't understand correctly your answer, English is not my mother language...
    – EnexoOnoma
    Commented Sep 21, 2011 at 11:33

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