Confusions and Connections

Which space camp are you in?

Space warA couple of days ago Randall Munroe over at XKCD posted the above cartoon.

Study 1 – Number of spaces

This got me thinking about who is in which camp. So off to facebook I went with the question and the result of the study was quite interesting…

number of spaces 1 2
response 1 4

This simple study shows that the people who believe that after a full stop* one space should be used are wrong!

That maybe a bit controversial for some readers but if your in the one camp, I don’t care as you are definitely wrong and no arguments you make will be wrong at all levels.

Study 2 – Spaces or tabs

A slightly different question was then asked. This was just to the programmers. How do you indent your code. The sample size was smaller than the first question, aka the cartoon, but showed something about programmers today. The respondents that answered “2 spaces” learnt their craft in the 80s or early 90s when a lot of programming was done on terminals connected to a mainframe. This meant that the user had a fixed width, either 80 or 132 characters, and no easy way to scroll to the right through long lines.

Today this isn’t a problem as you can turn word wrap on and drop the font size, the old school 2 spaces isn’t that much of an issue.

indent 2 spaces Tab
response 2 1

However, tabs are an abomination unless you’re programming in FORTRAN when tabs and GOTOs are not only fine but needed so compilers will work correctly.

Finally, I will throw this into the mix:

Study 3 – Helvetica should be banned!

Helvetica Vs ArialYou can see that the two fonts are quite similar in design.  Both are San-serif and are angular in design.  You can see that the lower case “a” is slighly different but not by much.  Why do some designers seem to have an almost psychological love of the font where Arial, Verdana or  a myriad of other fonts will do.  Don;t just use Helvetica because “That’s what I use”.  Get away from that Hipster cliché and embrace fonts.

As the below table of an, allegedly, scientific study shows, only Hipster’s use Helvetica.

Font choice Arial Helvetica
Group Designers Hipster designers

If you disagree with me, or agree, please leave a comment below and I may even give you an answer.

* I’m British. If you’re American change this to period. Like it is in the above cartoon.

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  • John

    Except The helvetica sample you’ve used above doesn’t seem to be helvetica. The open edge of the c doesn’t curl round far enough, the top and bottom edges of the open side should meet parallel to each other and the horizontal axis. Also, the top of the t should be flat and parallel to the x axis also. What you’ve got here looks more like frutiger or stone sans.

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