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Do people still care about horizontal scrollbars?

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

Msg#: 4396370 posted 4:20 pm on Dec 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

ever since i started building sites, i've been told that horizontal scrollbars are a big no-no. no one likes scrolling sideways, so i left them out.
i always used a fluid layout, so everything re-sized with the window.

but now i've got to put an ad space in that measures 728 across -- one of those big leaderboard things, and its very hard to avoid horizontal scrollbars.

so i've been looking at all the big sites in my sector, and i was surprised to see that every single one of them spawns a horizontal scrollbar when you reduce the window even a fraction below full-size. (they've all got the same leaderboard ad space as well)

then i looked at a few more big sites, like the search results at google and bing, and they all spawn the scrollbars too. so does the BBC site, Yahoo, eBay, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Amazon, and practically every big site that i could think of.
The only site that i could find that still uses a fluid layout was wikipedia.

it seems that a fixed width layout with horizontal scrollbars is the norm these days. am i just behind the times or are the scrollbars still frowned upon?



WebmasterWorld Senior Member lucy24 us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time Top Contributors Of The Month

Msg#: 4396370 posted 7:51 pm on Dec 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

Frowned upon by whom? The people who want to extract information from the page, or the site designers who have 27-inch monitors and use every last pixel of them?

When I started reading these Forums, one of the things that struck me was a recurring tone of contempt for the user. If they don't like the way we design our sites, well, tough. (This is not targeted at anyone in particular. Sometimes it helps to have a lousy memory.)

Interesting that you mention Amazon because I go there fairly often and have noticed that the window is always too wide. Some quick experimenting tells me that at least they're not doing the Truly Evil Thing: detecting the user's screen resolution (not the current window size) and sizing the document accordingly. They're locked to 1280. If there's a mobile version it works by UA detection because I can't find a link. Same goes for YouTube (more experimenting).

At least that pales by comparison with my hotlinkers. Every single one of them uses the same WYSIWYG editor, and they all generate pages that are, at a rough estimate, 4000px wide.

On the other hand, these Forums are perfectly happy to display at 800x600 without scrolling. Unless, of course, you're reading a thread where someone has posted code ;)


WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Msg#: 4396370 posted 8:35 pm on Dec 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

I don't like 'em, and yea I look down on the designers when I run across them. Up to and including Google and Amazon.



WebmasterWorld Senior Member ken_b us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Msg#: 4396370 posted 9:10 pm on Dec 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

I care. That is one of the things I consider before linking to a site. If Joe hobbyist has a site 1800 pixels wide, I'll cut him some slack on the issue.

If it is an ecommerce site I might to buy from, or link to, it gets a lot less slack, as in "can I get this stuff anywhere else".

If the page is more than 1024 pixels wide I wouldn't call the builder a "designer".

That said, it is hard to build for every possible window size out there. I prefer sites that at least keep the main content within the first 800 pixel width. I don't much care if I miss out on reading/seeing the ads on the out of sight right space.

I wonder what the pixel width is on my netbook screen? Have to check that out.


WebmasterWorld Senior Member pageoneresults us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Msg#: 4396370 posted 9:20 pm on Dec 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

This is a timely topic. I just converted over one of me test sites to a Responsive Design. One of the challenges was dealing with images that are wider than my minimum target width of 140px. Here's what I did and I'm sure there is a more correct way of doing it but this is working so far.

div.banner img{

^ Something like that.

The goal is to make the image sizing dynamic using percentages instead of fixed widths and/or heights. That way when the viewport is resized, the image also resizes. It's a rather interesting approach to design and one that I am enjoying learning at the moment.

No horizontal scrollbars allowed until you get under 140px in viewport width.

It seems that a fixed width layout with horizontal scrollbars is the norm these days.

That is rapidly changing - as we speak. :)

Here's a prime example...

[BostonGlobe.com...] < Resize that website in your viewport. Nicely done!

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