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Strategic insights
Fixing White Space in NewsGator

Written by on April 26, 2004

I recently purchased NewsGator, a great news reader that sits right in the middle of Outlook - where I manage my personal emails, calendar, tasks and projects. Yes, I do also use NetNewsWire on my G4, but my Dell Inspiron has long been my primary system.

This tight integration with Outlook is really what makes NewsGator great - an example:

  • If you want to save a particular news item, simple drag and drop it to a folder, and it is save permanently
  • If you want to turn a news item into a "Task", drag and drop it into your "Tasks" folder and, like magic, it is turned into one (same with calendar and other specialized folders).

But, no products are perfect and that goes for NewsGator as well. One of the major problems is the Summary page - the page where all the latest news is collected for easy reading. It simply takes up too much space for, well, emptiness.

A normal news item uses 138px for every single one of them - that is, when not showing excerpts. Only 28px contains the actual text, the rest is white space and an external link to their online version. Just imagine when you get back from a meeting, bring up NewsGator - and find 100 new news items. You then have to scroll trough 13,800px!

Something had to be done!

By fiddling around with the files in the NewsGator folder, I found that there 2 files that defines the layout of the page.

  1. A VB/HTML page, which defines the elements and their content (Newspage.htm)
  2. A CSS file, which defines the visual representation of these (Newspagebase.css)

That is just like an ordinary website - a structure HTML and a CSS file, imagine my excitement.

It took me an hour, but now I have redesigned the news page like I want it to look.

  • The buttons has been repositioned and collected at the top.
  • The individual news item has been changed so that each item only takes up 26px.
  • The site name and date have has repositioned, and the date made less visible.
  • A "link" bar has been added with direct access to posting new articles, "edit articles" and varies other stuff for
  • The NewsGator Logo has been replaced by my own
Original version
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Now, NewsGator is efficient and usable - the perfect news reader.

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Thomas Baekdal

Thomas Baekdal

Founder of Baekdal, author, writer, strategic consultant, and new media advocate.


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