Web Sites and Window Width

Jeremy Keith finds the new alistapart design utilizing a 1024 pixel fixed-width layout too wide. (I wrote up my initial thoughts a few days ago) It seems that designers creating a 1024 pixel wide design are making a certain assumption …something like “screens are continually getting bigger, so our designs can get bigger, too”. But […]

Jeremy Keith finds the new alistapart design utilizing a 1024 pixel fixed-width layout too wide. (I wrote up my initial thoughts a few days ago)

It seems that designers creating a 1024 pixel wide design are making a certain assumption …something like “screens are continually getting bigger, so our designs can get bigger, too”. But it’s also an assumption that most folks want to browse using a single window, and have that window take up the entirety (or close to it) of the available screen.

But I agree with Jeremy. I have 15 inches of screen to work with, which is plenty wide enough to handle a 1024 design, but I never make windows as big as I can. So there is a small horizontal scrollbar in the new redesign when I view it, but I just deal with it. The new two-finger scrolling feature of my Powerbook also alleviates a little frustration with this. Jeremy says he will deal with it by creating his own stylesheet.

In fact, in recent weeks I’ve been seriously considering buying a new Apple display, with 20 or more inches of viewing capacity, large enough for an even bigger design than the new Alistapart one. But the reason is not so that I can stretch one window and make it as big as possible, the reason is so I can have two windows at ~800 pixels wide.

So I wonder if, instead of seeing everyone adopting a wider fixed-width design, we’ll instead see a comfort level forming with slightly smaller, liquid windows. There is, after all, an upper limit to everything, except plasma TVs, of course. Perhaps we’ve seen the beginnings of it with this new design. And, perhaps other folks have the same opinion that I do: that two windows are better than one.

So, what’s your window habit?

Update: Jon Hicks has an interesting discussion: Is 1024 OK? about this with comments from the designer, Jason Santa Maria. He makes the same point that I make, that not everyone is going to maximize their window. Also, read this quick interview with the designer.

Just goes to show you that we’re all still trying to figure this thing out.

Published: August 28th, 2005

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