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Page size for website
Which is better ... 760 pixels wide or full screen

 1:36 pm on Dec 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

Im presently building a directory site and like pages that are 760 pixels wide but having problems fitting it all in ...

A lot of sites alternate between 760 pixels wide and full screen but Id prefer to have one or the other.

which do you recommend?




 1:45 pm on Dec 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

This is a loaded question here and will no doubt bring out the "fluid vs. fixed" crowd. I think one thing that most will agree on, though, is that if your page can't be viewed at 600x800 without horizontal scrolling you'll alienate quite a few visitors. I'd recommend that you figure out a way to fit it in at 760 - whether you adopt a fluid layout that will let it expand or freeze it at that level is another question.

Longhaired Genius

 1:50 pm on Dec 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

Yep, for many people 760 pixels wide is full screen. And many people who are running their small screens at 1024px wide would have a better web experience if they set them to 800px wide.

[edited by: Longhaired_Genius at 3:02 pm (utc) on Dec. 30, 2003]


 1:55 pm on Dec 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

Definitely a loaded question! From my experience, what size you design the page for depends on the crowd you expect to visit it. For example, I design a lot of sites that provide services to Architects. Most architects these days operate on 21" monitors with high-resolution settings, so I can go up to 1200 pixels and beyond without any problems. If you are targeting a lot of home users, particularly those with old computers (and no idea how to change their resolutions), it would be better to design for the least common denominator, 800 pixels wide. Best of luck!


 2:04 pm on Dec 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

I think that screen size does depend on your target audience. I'm always surprised that even folk with 17" tft screens (1280x1024 native) run them at 800x600 . I think its only really developers and other specialised areas where users run at higher resolutions. Among my non-techie friends I don't know any that run above 800x600


 2:06 pm on Dec 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

I mostly use fluid
I have seen too many clients/users that do have a lot of junks permanetly loaded on screen that restrain monitor viewable size
that last variable cannot not be foreseen
therefore even 760 does not fit

have you recently looked at monitor loaded with the AOL junk for exmample or any other stuff for that matter.



 2:58 pm on Dec 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

I use fluid also. Folks who have larger monitors (TFT) will see a blurring effect on text, making it harder to read if they change the setting from 1024x768 down to 800x600. You would think it would be better - but it is not always the case. TFT monitors are designed to operate at a particular resolution.

The other side of the coin is this: if you design at 760px wide, centre the whole page. It sounds a bit stupid, but for the users with a larger screen, it will be smack bang in the middle. Those with the smaller resolution will not even notice.

But I don't understand why so many use fixed layouts, they are an old thing now - fluid sites are cropping up more and more. There is little difference between 0 to 760px and 0% to 100%. The only real difference is coping with the few fixed size items you may have (graphics), but this is easy to work around and get to work correctly.

PS: 760px assumes that the user does not have the history or favourites open on the left hand side. This is a user definable setting and the width of the side bar is also user dependant. Setting a site to 760px width will create horizontal scrolling for users of 800px width screens with the side bar open. Fluid will usually cope with this a lot better.

PS (number 2!): Because TFT screens are a defined size at time of manufacturer design, more and more computers are arriving with different resolutions to 800x600. These include laptops in particular, but many with 17" TFT and larger are now being factory set at larger resolutions and even some 13"-14" TFT screens are being set to 1024x768 now.


 5:22 pm on Dec 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

One of the main reasons people (like myself) still use fixed width is to make articles/news items/whatever else easier to read. Ever notice how a newspaper breaks off its text into columns? I'm sure there are a million reasons for it, but one of them is that it makes the articles much easier to read than if they ran five hundred word sentences from one end of the page to the other. Same with websites. If you have fluid layouts you risk spreading your content out too wide making it difficult to read. I'm sure someone will have a count point to this, but I just wanted to explain why some people still use fixed layouts.


 5:31 pm on Dec 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

I use both but prefer fixed for the same reasons as stated above.

With a fixed layout space I can be more judicious about placement.


 5:33 pm on Dec 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

Ever notice how a newspaper breaks off its text into columns?

Ever notice how books don't? ;)


 5:56 pm on Dec 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

Ever notice how a newspaper breaks off its text into columns?

Ever notice how books don't? ;)

Ok, a bit off topic, but books are intended to keep your attention for long periods of time. Newspapers are not. A newspaper article starts with a strong heading to tell you what the article is about. It's normally followed by a paragraph summing up the article in bold. Then it's followed by the article itself. At any time the reader can break off once they've absorbed the info they need, be it from the heading, the introduction paragraph, or the whole story.

Different media, different objectives.



 5:59 pm on Dec 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

Yes, but books are also fixed width, although not columnar.

There are reasons that a book is only X inches high and X inches wide.

Books and newspapers, and in fact all print media are size constrained. Now that I think of it, all media, until the web, is framed by some type of fixed width.

It's only the web that is fluid. Which isn't a bad thing.


 6:01 pm on Dec 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

<tech idiot>
Could some please explain 'fluid' please and how you would do it? Thanks.
</tech idiot>


 6:11 pm on Dec 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

Miop, this site - WebmasterWorld - has a fluid layout. Resize your browser window and the messages will squish or expand to fit the space. A fixed layout would stay the same.

You can create a fluid layout with tables sized in percentages or with CSS. Search the site for "fluid layout" and you'll find lots of discussion.


 1:11 am on Dec 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

what about sites that have alternate between fixed and fluid pages

for example google home page fixed .. rest fluid
yahoo fixed home page ... rest variable

see alot with fixed home page centred .... and they usually look better imo


 1:14 am on Dec 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

yep, diff'rent strokes for diff'rent folks.

Too bad he didn't become governor of California.


 1:22 am on Dec 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

I like fluid. I have a hard time coping with the downsides, though - like the graphics and trying to figure how the text is going to read in all the different resolutions. I was trying to convert one earlier today, but gave it up to think about another time. Some do it very well, of course. I've noticed that over the years both types kind of go in and out of style. Everyone was going fluid when resolutions were mostly 640x480 or 800x600. Then they started to vary so widely that fluid was harder to do well.

I think that 2003 produced a lot of fixed sites, including many sites that are fixed but take pains to look fluid. More fluid ones seem to be on the horizon in 2004, though, from what I've seen.


 1:27 am on Dec 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

<edit> shouldn't post when I'm under the influence...</edit>



 6:32 am on Dec 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

I generally use fluid design, although it has its problems. Very long lines of text are simply hard to read, and it can mess up the balance between eye-candy and content that makes reading a pleasure rather than a chore.

Reading "Web Style Guide" (Patrick Lynch and Sarah Horton), they suggest that whilst the safe area for graphics is 760px for screen use, the maximum is only 560px if users are likely to want to print the page. Then there's the problem of people accessing the web with smaller devices: laptops, PDAs and mobile phones. The trend now may be towards larger screen sizes, but who knows how it will pan out over the next few years?


 11:44 am on Dec 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

I might take a lot of flak for the following...
The thread should be divided in two segments
Content oriented
Or Graphic oriented
The first one when limited around of 15/20 K-page
Is very easy to be shown in the fluid version
Remember that a viewer using a content/info oriented site
looks for the info and the easiness of getting it
The emphasize is not on graphic or presentation
“Almost” who cares for Arial or Verdana!
Make it readable and fluid to avoid the big NO NO lateral scrolling the rest is of no interest – content content and content really matters

Graphic that another story
Imho one should be sure it fits properly in the main 800 to 1200 ... or fix to fit 750
Although the real 560 real estate was also mentioned earlier

I do not like it but there is some truth in stating better viewed in this or that resolution, graphic oriented sites are artistically designed therefore one should respect the way the developer intends its site to be seen


 11:35 am on Jan 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

Good points all. I ride the fence on fluid vs. fixed. IMO some entire sites work better one way or the other, while I have worked with content that uses a combination of the two; fluid design encapsulating fixed text.

Like in life; the web is not black or white, it is in color.

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