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August 09, 2010


Alex McCarthy

Hi Jan,

Long time reader, first time commenter :)

Could the perceived loss in vertical space come from the bigger date font?

The 8th is a relatively empty day in both of the screenshots you provided, so its height is limited by the date on the left. The 8th was 105 pixels tall in old UI, and it's 112 pixels high in the new UI. If your schedule is mostly empty, you used to see 5.33 days on your screen. Now you'd only see 4.94, and you've lost half a day! Your screenshots show this: The new screenshot's schedule is less busy, but you can only see one of Tuesday's entries (compared to 3.5 entries on Monday in the old UI).

Could this have more impact than the moved ad? I haven't used Cozi before and I'm just working from your screenshots, so I might be off the mark here.

Keep up the great posts!


Jan Miksovsky

Hi Alex,

Thanks for your kind words!

We did change our typeface (I hope to talk about that experience in a post at some point), but it has very little effect on the amount of data the user can see. The differences between the above two images aren't really controlled as well as I would like. For one thing, the two images aren't showing the same calendar: the first image was actually taken a year earlier, and it just happened that the rough date range was similar. For another thing, upon investigation, the second image was taken on a monitor with Large Fonts turned on, which in this case had the effect of making the large dates bigger. So there are several things I could have done to permit a more accurate comparison between the old design
and the new design. Nevertheless, the key measurement being examined here (the vertical height of the total calendar data) is pretty accurate, and I think the general point still stands.



I think the left sidebar has much to do with the perception that you're losing part of your calendar: it continues all the way to the bottom, and that makes it all the more obvious the calendar does not.

Perhaps if you "stopped" the sidebar? Changed the bottom 100-odd pixels to a different, more neutral background colour?

Stefan Möbius

Hi Jan,

Even though you're probably right in saying that most users prefer to have a free service in exchange for getting ads, I'd still like to point out that this is not true for all users. Some years ago I decided that I'd be willing to pay for a web-based mail service, just to get rid of all those annoying ads. At the time I was using Yahoo mail, but they just didn't offer ad-free service - not for any money in the world! Consequently, they lost me as a customer.


PS: Let me also thank you for a very interesting blog.


My 2 cents: The users were ignoring the side ad (or blocked it, like I do), and the calendar was small. Thus, content appeared to go way past the left side content. The stuff you notice on the left ends at the 7, two days into the content.

Now, instead of a nice calendar control, there are text links, so your eye must read them instead of being able to glance, and you stop "seeing" content at the 9 (4 days in).

It's like those puzzles where they show the line lengths and put different size lines next to them, and you think the original line is much smaller when in fact it hasn't changed. Do an image search for "which line is longer" is see what I mean.


In the old design the list of dates continues above and below the screen in the mind's eye, with the banner, the user's focus is boxed into a space about a 3rd of the overall data displayed so as to visually avoid the ad at the bottom. The controls at the top are better, but that ad placement is hugely distracting.

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