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Re: fixed width or resizable pages


From: Jens Meiert
Date: Nov 9, 2004 10:44AM

(Apologies that I didn't track the entire discussion, and that I didn't find
any discussion archive entries so quickly, either.)

> Hello, does anyone have any strong views / advice on which is
> preferable?

Basically: a fixed layout only works on a certain size monitor (see Jakob
Nielsen (1999) [1]).

The main advantage of a liquid layout is that you can display more content
"above the fold" -- and thus you have more space to convince your audience
that you've really got something to offer.

You also automatically take lower resolutions into account which is just
fine -- there ain't many people travelling around with 640x480 resolutions,
but those will be also rather accommodated, too (I assume that you'll
"optimize" for 800x600 otherwise).

> Are there any good reasons to stick with a fixed width template?

There are studies claiming that it's better (more readable) to use only x
words per line (which varies, younger people tend to prefer shorter line
lengths, as there are other tradeoffs to consider [2]). Thus you'll more
likely excess any such threshold with a liquid layout.

-- From my experience it's definitely recommendable to use a liquid layout
if you take those legibility issues, among others, into consideration (e.g.,
by using a popular three column layout which naturally reduces the available
content width and which decreases problems with line lengths).

My two cents (Euro),

[1] http://www.useit.com/alertbox/990613.html
[2] http://psychology.wichita.edu/optimalweb/text.htm

Jens Meiert
Interface Architect (IxD)