worldnews — 2011-08-15T18:03:38-04:00 — #1
What do you suggest as being the best Width for a Web site?
That is do you think that the best Width should be set based on Percentages or Pixels?
And if Pixels, then what is the optimum Width so that the Web site looks OK across most display devices, which means requires NO scrolling to see the whole of the Web site content.
To me it seems Width set based on Percentages would be best, since then one can be sure that always the page does not scroll require, but then one looses control over the exact display of things that require set size such as images, etc.
Looking forward to your thoughts.
r937 — 2011-08-15T18:26:11-04:00 — #2
the absolutely best web site width evar is 100%
stevie_d — 2011-08-15T18:47:52-04:00 — #3
The best width is whatever fits on and makes best use of my screen/window.
Fixed width is a cop-out for designers, putting their convenience over the needs and convenience of their visitors. Ideally, a site will adapt for any screen size, although in realistic terms, you might want to put min-width and max-width constraints on it.
A site that is narrower than my window is wasting space (that assumes people don't have maximised windows on huge screens, because lines over about 20-30 words start to get hard to read), which is no big deal, but is inefficient.
A site that is wider than my screen is a major fail.
Yes, designing for flexible width takes a bit more effort if you're going for a clever layout with lots of positioned elements, but it's almost always possible.
Don't forget that even within a flexible site, you can have fixed width elements, where specific items need to appear at specific sizes.
felgall — 2011-08-15T22:15:37-04:00 — #4
Definitely 100% as that's the only width that will display at full width in all browsers.
chriswhiteley — 2011-08-16T23:28:47-04:00 — #5
While I agree that 100% is a great way to go, the problem is that there are times when it gets taken to far. In terms of readily there is nothing worse than trying to read an article that is 800px wide.
I am however a big fan of the whole 'responsive design' that is happening right now.
stevie_d — 2011-08-17T08:59:07-04:00 — #6
In terms of readability, there are a couple of things that are worse – one is pages that are wider than your window, and the other is bad spelling
chriswhiteley — 2011-08-17T09:33:15-04:00 — #7
Damn the iPhone autocorrect and these fat fingers. Thanks for pointing out the spelling errors.
Indeed there may be things worse but the topic of this thread isn't the content of the site, spelling, or even design of the site. It is the width. I rarely run into a situation where the website is wide than my screen. Is this a common problem for others? Or am I just not surfing the web enough?
tosta — 2011-08-21T14:09:49-04:00 — #8
stevie_d — 2011-08-21T19:02:40-04:00 — #9
I frequently come across sites that are wider than my window.
I run my desktop at 1280×1024. If I run my browser windows maximised, that makes for an uncomfortably large viewport, giving long lines that are harder to read. Unless I'm looking at large images or maps or any other content that needs that much space, I don't want a viewport that big. Fortunately, Opera supports a proper MDI, meaning that I can have each tab open as a separate window within the main Opera window, and the size I find most comfortable is a width of about 900px. A significant minority of sites don't respect this and make their websites so wide that it invokes a horizontal scrollbar.
axcbuz — 2011-08-21T19:23:12-04:00 — #10
Fluid site with mostly text - 100%
Fixed layout with graphics aligned precisely - 900px
felgall — 2011-08-21T22:28:39-04:00 — #11
I frequently come across sites with the same problem. My screen resolution is 1920x1080 so I have my browser (and all the other windows I open) set to use exactly half the width so I can see two windows side by side and no window is so wide that the content is hard to read (this gives a viewport width of 958 which I find quite wide enough for easy reading).
black_max — 2011-08-21T23:41:34-04:00 — #12
Kohoutek broke me of using fluid-width designs with no max-min width constraints. She has a huge monitor like yours, Stephen, and she sent me a screenshot of what one of my sites looked on her monitor. It was a revelation.
worldnews — 2011-08-22T00:17:50-04:00 — #13
I am sorry, but "It was a revelation." to what?
Are you saying that it better to have a Fixed Width rather than 100% width?
Frankly looking at all the answers here I am even more confused now than when I started this thread about what is the BEST Width decision for a Web site?
Overall I am leaning toward it being a fixed Width size in Pixels, but what amount of Pixels wide?
stevie_d — 2011-08-22T07:20:35-04:00 — #14
A revelation to the problem of allowing unrestricted 100% width.
No, fixed width is not better than 100%. It may make your life as a designer easier, but it doesn't make the user experience better.
The ideal width from the user's point of view is 100%, with a max-width set at somewhere between about 900px and 1200px (or you might want to set it in ems) depending on the layout, to ensure you don't get horrendously long lines. You might also want to set a min-width to preserve the layout on very narrow screens, but a preferable solution there would be to use media queries to alter the layout completely to fit in a single narrow column.
felgall — 2011-08-22T15:36:27-04:00 — #15
around 30 - 35 characters in a line of text is about as wide as you want a column to be.
You can of course have your page rearrange columns so as to fill whatever width your visitor has available.
eneza — 2011-08-24T21:48:37-04:00 — #16
Seriously, is it really like REAL STATE? WHITE SPACE = WASTED SPACE?
I just thought white spaces are good for viewing.
I use 100% not to literally "use" them all but to have enough space and a clear viewing on what your client want to see on your website.
I think it's a matter of perspective on how creative you will use it.
I think you can use 950px but still jiving with the 100% of the viewport.
Right usage is still the best and not because "STANDARD" guys told you so.
stevie_d — 2011-08-25T07:53:00-04:00 — #17
There's a balance to be struck. Yes, space on the screen is unlimited, and unlike print there's no cost to spreading things out. Getting enough white space into a design is important for readability and navigability, as well as just aesthetics. On the other hand, you don't want to waste space unnecessarily. Large gaps - particularly side gaps created by a very narrow content column - can look out of place. The more scrolling is needed, the more people might not make it as far as the bit they're looking for. That's particularly true at the top of the page (and most of all on the home page), where you need to have enough content to give people the 'information scent' to read on. If they see nothing on the first screenful that looks interesting and worth reading, a lot of people will back out there and then.
I think you can use 950px but still jiving with the 100% of the viewport.
Not when a significant number of people are using viewport widths of less than 950px, you can't...
felgall — 2011-08-25T15:38:16-04:00 — #18
The solution to where lines might get too long to read is to assign max-width:35em on those columns. Of course no one is going to deliberately open their browser so wide that they have difficulty reading the page content so the problem should rarely occur in the first place.
stevie_d — 2011-08-25T15:55:02-04:00 — #19
You have a touching and misplaced faith in the intelligence and sanity of the web browsing community
r937 — 2011-08-25T16:09:43-04:00 — #20
this may well be true (also, it's a great example of creative writing)
but stephen has it right, web authors should still take care to ensure their text is readable, and 35em is fine
i can think of one scenario where a wide open browser viewport on a large monitor makes sense, and that's to view a page which has high quality and very large images
of course, on such a page, the fewer words the better, eh
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