I suppose this is more of an opinion thread than a downright technical one, but it's something all of us web designers must consider constantly and I would like to get an idea of what the general consensus is (if there is one).

For a long time, the only way to make a site layout really work all the time was to limit its width. Nowadays there are a lot of CSS tricks that can be used, even without any tables, to keep a layout consistent with a variable width (e.g., a liquid layout). Still, I personally find that a fixed-width layout seems more steady and can even be more attractive when the content is largely textual (wide lines and short paragraphs don't do it for me).

So my question is, how many developers out there build primarily static-width sites, and how many build primarily liquid sites (if you have a choice in the matter), and if you do build static-width sites, what do you think is a reasonable width to expect from your visitors?

I tend to think that even 1,000 pixels in width is okay to expect from most visitors these days, especially to graphically-oriented sites.

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I tend to do more fixed width than liquid layouts but do both often. THe only thing I have found is that while it is true that most users have higher res these days alot of the folks I deal with as users set their windows much smaller than full screen. As a result I still focus on 800 for the width.

That's true, and a good call. Here at work I am personally running 1600x1200, but my window is usually around 1,000 wide. I think it also has much to do with the content. Whereas one of my photography sites is fixed at 700 wide, my more serious one fixes the main page width at 700 and the actual photo view pages at 1000, just so the photos can be bigger.

I would suppose that people visiting a site specifically in order to see photographs would be appreciative of the extra size, so long as you don't expect a higher resolution than they can support.

Definitely go fixed width for content sites with lots of text. I also like fixed width because I feel I have more control over the design when I know it will render the same to all visitors ... not stretched out in the wrong places to some and squished in the wrong places to others.

Hi all :)

First post (be gentle *LOL*)

I am vision impaired and find that I have formed an opinion on what I like best....

A combination of fixed and fluid seems to work the best....

I am working away, amongst the pages on my site, to put together a page that works on 'any' browser, on any platform, includes 'scalable' graphics that re-size based on the default/current font-size, or browser window size.... (it depends on what it is), and that conforms to W3C.

I have lots of examples..... of almost getting there..... :eek:

What have I missed?

As far as larger screens go, I personally prefer them. However my audience (those on-line with Multiple Sclerosis) is dominated by those on a low budget and are often never before users..... often with vision issues.


I would advise that even when doing fluid designs a certain level of control is necessary. The same fluidity that will work on a PDA (say 240px wide) will not give a decent page for a 1024x768 standard screen.

I usually do fixed layouts for sites that will not have much traffic and do not have much content.
I code somewhat fluid layouts especially for pages with a lot of content. I force the page to shrink/stretch at a minimum of say 650px and a maximum of say 950px, giving the visitor a comfortable 300px of adjustment but also making sure the layout won't turn into crap if the visitor's resolution falls outisde that range.

My $0.02

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