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View Poll Results: Fixed or variable page widths?

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  • I only design fixed width sites

    3 10.71%
  • I only design variable/flexible width sites

    2 7.14%
  • I do both - depends on the needs of the site

    23 82.14%
Results 1 to 18 of 18
  1. #1
    Don't eat yellow snow spaceman's Avatar
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    Fixed or variable page widths?

    The question I'm asking is similar(ish) to this thread:

    http://www.sitepointforums.com/showt...threadid=37984

    Except that I'm asking the question:

    Do you design web sites that expand to fill the page (whatever display area a user might have on their monitor), or do you prefer to 'lock' your page width (eg. optimised for 800x600 display size).

    Is there any right or wrong here, pros and cons? Or should you be flexible and be happy developing using either approach depending on the needs of the site in question?

    Looking forward to your comments...
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  2. #2
    SitePoint Enthusiast AppleCider's Avatar
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    Cool

    I do both, depending on the site. There are plusses and minuses to both approaches.

    If I use fixed widths, I design for 640x480, and center the table. The only reason I can think of for doing this is a fancy frame around the table. (Of course, I'm sure plenty of people will hasten to correct that statement!
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  3. #3
    SitePoint Wizard Aes's Avatar
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    I voted both because I do work with both on occasion. However, the majority of my work is done in absolutes.

    I tend to always run into one problem or another when trying to create liquidic pages; with absolute pages I make it 760 pixels wide and it looks great in all resolutions (except 640x480 which I no longer care about).
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  4. #4
    Don't eat yellow snow spaceman's Avatar
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    Originally posted by AppleCider
    If I use fixed widths, I design for 640x480, and center the table.
    I also still use 640x480 for certain sites, centered or left-aligned, where I want everyone on the planet (web tv users notwithstanding) to view the site without a horizontal scroll bar. The most brilliant (IMO) web site to continue to do this AND that wins lots of awards for doing so is the hugely popular BBC news web site at

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/

    So this is a very specific example of a global site that wants to be viewable with the least amount of hassle by the widest possible audience. Respect!
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  5. #5
    Don't eat yellow snow spaceman's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Aes
    I tend to always run into one problem or another when trying to create liquidic pages
    Yes, I know exactly what you mean. I also find it really hard sometimes to design a page that looks great at 1024 width, but that also looks great at 800 (well, 760) width. Which is why the fixed width option is generally 'easier' - it's then just a question of what (if anything) you decide to do with all that white space on monitors set with bigger display areas...
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  6. #6
    SitePoint Wizard Ian Glass's Avatar
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    Fixed pages are easer to do, but I like flex-i-pages. I voted both--while I will design a fixed page if I need to, I usuaily design with flex-i-pages. If the client dosn't mention a prefrence, I don't argue with that....

  7. #7
    SitePoint Wizard
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    I voted both as well. I want to design for everyone out there, and this is the only way to create flexible, stretching sites.

  8. #8
    What? Maelstrom's Avatar
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    It depends on the situations. More often then not if it is artical driven only I will make it autoadjust to make the content open up.

    However lately I have been reading many 'design' articals and find they prefer to see the longest line to be 380 to 450px in length. So I may end up capping it off.

    For things like charts graphs and information that has to be a set width I use rigid tables.
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  9. #9
    SitePoint Guru Marc's Avatar
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    I use absolute widths, optimized for 800x600, although I myself run at 1024x768

    I find its too much trouble trying to make it varying width.
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  10. #10
    SitePoint Guru nagrom's Avatar
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    A good reason to make stretchy pages is they print better. 800 wide sites cutoff when printed, which can make a client MAD! If a stretchy site's minimum width is 600, it will fit on most printers.
    Also, I have big monitors, but don't find myself browsing full screen very often. I tend to open a window 900 wide or so.

  11. #11
    Don't eat yellow snow spaceman's Avatar
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    Originally posted by nagrom
    A good reason to make stretchy pages is they print better. 800 wide sites cutoff when printed, which can make a client MAD! If a stretchy site's minimum width is 600, it will fit on most printers.
    Yes, I had one of those the other day. The alternative is of course to make available a "printer friendly" version of the page.

    But it's just such a pain to make a stretchy page look good at 600 AND 1024...
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  12. #12
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    I like streachy pages, i try to do that on all my sites... they often dont cater for 640x480 resolutions, as I have said before, that is too restrictive... I generally design for 800x600 and above.

    If someone wants to print, i'll provide a 'print this article' link, which has the advantage of getting rid of unwanted material not needed for print...

    Fixed width sites are alright, but then you have to decide exactly which resolution to design for.

  13. #13
    Bimbo With A Brain! silver trophy Saz's Avatar
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    Am I one of the few who hates 'fixed' designs? Probably am, but then I have a 21" monitor and even 800x600 sites look terrible!

    My personal sites are stretchy and work well, though one of them goes a bit goofy in 640x480 - I have random quotes appear across the top and some of them are too long and they wrap messing up the table.

    On the whole I have no problems getting stretchy sites to work and it's quite satisfying to see your site looking good in a multitude of resolutions. Having said that though, if I'm building a site for somebody and they specifically want a fixed design then I will do it, but I'll have a damn good try at getting them to change their minds first!
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  14. #14
    SitePoint Member lashtal's Avatar
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    Lately I've been designing with fixed-width centered tables. I just see it more readable and they look good with every resolution.

  15. #15
    SitePoint Guru nagrom's Avatar
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    Originally posted by spaceman


    Yes, I had one of those the other day. The alternative is of course to make available a "printer friendly" version of the page.

    But it's just such a pain to make a stretchy page look good at 600 AND 1024...
    hehe, the last one I had wanted it to print to fit, be stretchy AND he hated white space! Would even cover the parts of the screen that had any with his hand he couldn't stand it so much. We solved it by having tiled backgrounds in the table cells, to fill it up for him. Thank goodnees he uses AOL and not netscape! (never thought I'd say that!)

    It is a big design problem, I've been tending to do alot of stretchy table sites that contain a mix of fixed widths sections and percentage-width sections.

  16. #16
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    I think this one has become a bigger problem than browser incompatibility and what makes it more interesting is that when you're doing a site for someone, they often don't even have a clue about different resolutions and how that affects things, so there's that to explain, too.

    I think one solution that looks pretty good in most resolutions right now is what I call fake stretchy. I only have one I've only just started like that at the moment, but I've seen others. That's where the content is actually contained in a fixed width table, usually on the left but due to a kind of horizontal design the page seems to extend all the way out, sometimes with some additional navigation or a logo to the right, which goes further to give the feeling that it fills the page. The only thing is that you still have to choose a resolution to optimize the content for. The one I'm doing is optimized for 800x600. On most of my other sites I try to make them work for 640x480 at least reasonably well, though.

  17. #17
    We like music. weirdbeardmt's Avatar
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    Stretchy all the way for me... [unless it is for a particular effect, or trying to make images in framesets fit nicely together...]
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  18. #18
    SitePoint Guru Marc's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    I make it absolute width that just fits inside 800x600, and this way those that view it at 640x480 have the same exact website, not distorted, they just have to side scroll a little to see the whole thing .. :P
    Marc Gugliuzza
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