Originally Posted by chicgeek
Fixed or fluid width webpage layouts.
What is your preference for designing webpages?
What is your preference for visiting webpages?
Fixed width both ways.
These days there are a large number of end-user resolutions which then yeild quite a variety of full width browser displays. That is, it is pretty much unpredictable what your end-user might see in their window when they view your site.
Given the wide variety, some control is desirable I think.
There are several issues I concern myself with:
1) Fluid layouts have this major problem: You really don't know what the end-user's resolution is -- it may be huge, way beyond what you expected. This can cause many things to "blow apart" in your design, and at best cause lines of text to go far longer than is easy to read.
2) I prefer fixed width, but then the question is what width, and the answers is, as always, "it depends".
3) What does it depend upon? Scroll-accross! Scroll-accross is the ultimate evil in web design. Scrolling down, not such a big deal as long as your most important content is "above the fold", or before needing to scroll down. But scroll accross? Fagetaboutit!
4) However, there is a bit more to it. In the same way that you want your most important content "above the fold", but you might have more content below that, it's similar with width -- make sure that your core navigation and content still fits within 800 px width so that you don't prejudice those users, but feel free to add less curcial content in a "third column" beyond that resolution -- for instance, ads and promotions, etc.
That is, try not to think of the width of your layout as a "end all, be all", but rather think of how you arrange content with a consideration to verious resoluutions your end-users maybe be using. And by no means prejudice the folks still at 800 x 600, while at the same time don't let your site "blow apart" for folks at very high width resolutions.
Finally, keep well in mind that it is arduous for end-users to have to read too far from the left of a line to the right of it and then scroll down to the next line. For example, there is a really good reason that printed newpaper columns are rather narrow. I'd recomend keeping text content within 600 px max or so to keep it readable.