What's with narrow web layouts? Sat, Jan 28. 2006
Gotta rant for a moment: Why are we seeing a resurgence in the use of fixed-width webpages?! I've been using a 1280x1024 screen since 1993 and thought the days of a big margin down both sides -- or, worse yet, a big margin down the right side -- were long gone. Yet ctv.ca, redhat.com, cibc.com, and way too many blog sites are using only one-third to one-half of the screen. And when my eyes are tired and I zoom the font size (Ctrl+Mouse Wheel), I end up with two or three words per line!
I agree that whitespace can be an effective design tool, but there's a limit. If you're going to design a page with generous margins down both sides, at least size the middle portion in em units so that when I zoom the text size the line length increases too. Tip of the day: you can size your images in ems as well, so that zoming the text zooms the graphics
Of course, sometime after I wrote this, I switched to the "Kubrick" theme for the blog -- and ended up with a narrow web layout. D'oh!
These fix width design are made to suite new user habbits. Most people (at least the targeted audience) are doing more than one thing at a time, so browser windows are not maximized. As to the usability, a narrow page means less eye movements, we all like to be lazy.
(since I was a designer, I have to say, a fixed width page gives the designer more control over what can be done to the layout. And images still doesn't look right when stretched, by images I mean images with photos not just vector shapes.)
And images still doesn't look right when stretched
Scaling them doesn't necessarily stretch them. Here's a trivial example of text-size-based scaling that I whipped up: http://chris.tylers.info/blog-examples/scaling/
That's great example, thanks. Learned something new today. : )
Just out of curiousity, what is the size of the image?
I don't suppose that will have much affect on the maximum traffic flow per account. (unlike the good old days when 1 extra k of image or code is too much)
i would say a good reason why you would want to have a web page showing at 640x480 would be for looking for drivers on websites, and so that you can view the website on a basic computer. While websites like ctv.ca can have larger resolutions, websites like, www.ati.com should have a lower ress so that tech's can easly navagate the website
But what I was trying to say is that good website design is independent of resolution. I agree that you shouldn't lock out the low-res users (though 640x480 is very rare these days), but it also doesn't make sense to frustrate those with large screens, nor those who prefer a different font size. With modern CSS we're way past setting up web pages for a particular resolution or geometry, and it's time for sites to get with the program.
(This situation will only get worse as we get into high-resolution displays. 200-300 dpi screens are on the horizon - which means that a 640x480 layout will be as small as 2.2x1.6 inches in the corner of the screen!)
let us keep matters simple and show more respect for the end viewer/user, keeping all concerned in a winwin situation.
i suggest the subject matter should be given prominence at all times. in the center WITHOUT having to play about with the left/right arrows at bottom of screen.the present situation is both frustrating and an insult to peoples inteligence.i have gone to google with ;- narrow pages showing on pc? as a result, your page came up. you must remember. we are not ALL wizards on the pc. you should make it simple for people to simply peruse. all the nonsence at left and right of center page can be viewed after main page has been read. if the reader should so wish.
i often think of the high earners with their high brains. it's a pity they cannot see THE BIG PICTURE.
i trust my rant may have some influence on the brain power in your company. perhaps things will improve with YOUR input..with respect..i am michael in liverpool. i am 68
here am i michael in liverpool. still frustrated over having to use the left and right arrows at bottom of screen. surely someone out there can take my plight on board and advise or even comment on this crazy situation.
this email for help 30/9/2006
ps.even when seperate adds or whatever are not showing down sides of main content.in many instances the main content is far too wide both to read and to print out. the right hand side end words do not print.help me if you can, i'm feeling down and i do appreciate you being around. help me get my screen back to readable ground. won't you please please help me??? regards..michael
Seriously though, what's the point? All the tiny prit in a tiny box that you can't make bigger. It gets old fast. The problem is, rants like this seldom get results, so what can we do?