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  1. #1
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    Website pages - fixed width or scalable?

    I'm interested in the problem of screen width of web pages. A web page could be displayed in a wide-screen LCD monitor (1920 pixels wide for a 23/24" monitor), or as a window within an ordinary screen (perhaps a few hundred pixels wide).

    What should be done about the width of the displayed images and text of a web-page?

    Should this be fixed at (say) 800 pixels, to preserve the designed 'shape' of the web page, centred (or left-justified) horizontally within the screen area? (Example: BBC News website)

    Or should everything 'scale' as much as possible to fit the current width of the window/screen? (Example: Woody's Lounge)

    Has anyone seen this matter discussed, and/or what are people's views on this choice?

    Thanks!

    John
    <font face="Script MT Bold"><font color=blue><big><big>John</big></big></font color=blue></font face=script>

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  2. #2
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    Re: Website pages - fixed width or scalable?

    I think in todays world, any site that uses a "Fixed Width" is going to lose visitors. As I tend NOT to return to those that I must scroll sideways to see rest of the screen.

    The one thing I have liked about IE 6 and now 7 the auto resize on most graphics that are opened as a link, I hated trying to view a graphic with only about 25% showing.

    Now running HP Pavilion a6528p, with Win7 64 Bit OS.

  3. #3
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    Re: Website pages - fixed width or scalable?

    My general view is to keep to columned pages. OK so I will use my web site as an example (click Jezza Bear in my signature to view). I use a three column affair: A left column , A right column and central column.

    The left column is fixed (or floats) left of the page, the right, advert column floats right and the central column is fixed width and holds the general blurb associated with the page. If i remember rightly, the site you are responsible for has two columns, a left nav column and a content column and uses tables as it structure and is set to 100% width. The issue you have is that although the tables fit the screen they do not do so in 800x600 screen resolution as you have two images for your banner the logo is 121 pixels and the banner image is 721 pixels adding up to 842 pixels causing the scroll issue Dave mentions.

    Personally I think if you address the banner size your web site works for the audience that will more than likely link to it as it uses good clear, large text which is easy to read and comforms with usability and use left justify and fix your table 800 pixels as long as the image widths are sorted out.....my <img src=/S/2cents.gif border=0 alt=2cents width=15 height=15> worth
    Jerry

  4. #4
    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Re: Website pages - fixed width or scalable?

    I read an article about web typography which made the argument that we should learn from the print media what column widths make comfortable reading. With that in mind, I've been working on a design that scales to font size. The goal is to accommodate both the people who surf at 800x600 (even on expensive new LCD monitors, because the native resolution is too small for their eyes) and people with gigantic displays that might want to scale up the text.

    The layout still is in an experimental state, and the content is about 20% written, but you can take a peek (http://sothai.com/dest/KohSurin.asp) and play with Ctrl+ScrollWheel. I plan to flood the "empty" right area with thumbnails, links, or other content to be determined; that area doesn't need to have any particular width and will be designed to wrap to the bottom if the user doesn't leave space for it.

  5. #5
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    Re: Website pages - fixed width or scalable?

    Nice trick with the timed redirect back to the index page for pages under construction. Normally I would deaden the link but as it is work in progress a nice touch <img src=/S/thumbup.gif border=0 alt=thumbup width=15 height=15>
    Jerry

  6. #6
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    Re: Website pages - fixed width or scalable?

    I'm with Jezza and Jefferson - essentially fixed width is the way to go, as long as you don't fix it to any wider than 800px. The two main issues to consider (for me) are (a) keeping control of the look of your website, and ([img]/forums/images/smilies/cool.gif[/img] making sure that text wraps so that you don't have to read all the way from the far left of the screen to the far right and lose track of which line you're on when you return to the left!

    Having said that, I do like sites that fit the screen, whatever resolution I'm using. Ultimately though, the only way to achieve this at the moment is through vector-based applications like Flash.
    Waggers
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  7. #7
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    Re: Website pages - fixed width or scalable?

    Thanks to everyone for their views - very useful for our new website redesign...!

    John
    <font face="Script MT Bold"><font color=blue><big><big>John</big></big></font color=blue></font face=script>

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