Sure, there's unused space. I don't think anyone has said otherwise. In fact, the suggestion you propose was mentioned earlier in the thread. And your "Here's kinda what I'm thinking" sure seemed like you were looking for a change to me.
Well I'm loooking for a change in the long-term sense of the usage. I guess what I meant was that I wasn't specifically putting for the moving of stuff around and the changing of the padding. I was doing a before/after hypothetical situation to show that doing some changes (not necessarily the one's I showed) would have a definite improvement.
I think there are some visual presentation problems with the phpBB 3 layout, although I disagree about their nature and severity. My take is that phpBB 3.0 as implemented here has a problem not so much with excessive use of vertical space per se
, but with inconsistent use of vertical whitespace. Most forums, including our phpBB 2 layout, have a certain amount of visual consistency, and I think that's probably what's bugging some folks about the new layout. The variance can make reading more difficult. The inconsistencies include:
-Short (one or two line) posts cause vertical spacing anomalies
-A dynamically sized "post by" profile area that's too small side-to-side can cause icons to flow to a second line at some very common browser widths. Kevin's posts were doing this for me since he has lots of icons.
-Some user sigs are strangely tall.
-The quotation facility inserts way too much vertical space after the quotation by default.
These things make following the flow of a thread quickly more difficult than it should be.
As a result, I've just asked Cyril to make some changes to our layout. Those include a slightly wider "profile" area to prevent the icon wrapping issue and less spacing below quotations by default. You may have to hit ctrl-F5 in your browser to reload the stylesheet and see the changes. One side-effect of the quotation change, Cyril tells me, will be too little
whitespace after quotations in older posts. We may just have to live with that, but the frequency of those popping up will fade with time. I think the end result of these changes will be better visual consistency with regard to vertical space, along with some degree of improved efficiency, as well. If I'm right, usability--the key thing--should be improved.
We'll roll these changes into the blue look before it goes live.