... please comment expressing the reasoning behind your preference if you don't mind.
It is my preference to display my sites as a fixed width. I build my sites to display in a controlled fashion, and I find that fluid displays tend to display content 'misaligned' when viewed on monitors of different resolutions/sizes.
WIDE isn't necessarily the de facto standard, although it is now more common to have a wide-screen, than not. If "fluid designers" had access to a Mom'n'Pop 14-incher to view their work they might be unpleasantly surprised.
I prefer fluid designs. I personally hate narrow windows on my widescreen monitor and, it seems that the preponderance of my visitors have widescreen monitors (based on the stats), so it seems not to be such an issue for my site. I think that fluid designs mostly put the visitor in control except for the obvious issue of people with old monitors.
That said, I am contemplating going with a fixed width for the site redesign although it would be wider than most might choose. What is driving this design choice is the desire to present the site as an art catalog which will be best viewed at a fixed width. Ironically, I would still prefer fluid width for text pages, especially if the CSS Regions option were available.
For me, a website is a form of expression that is purely creative with the purpose of stimulating our imagination rather than being obviously useful to someone. Just as the canvas of an artist is finite whether he chooses a small or large one, a fixed width layout allows the designer to set boundaries that will be ideal for his creations.
I much prefer a fluid width, depending on how it is handled. When set at, say, 75%, it will display in a consistent manner on most modern large displays, without necessarily counting out those folks with the older, smaller displays. It all depends on how it is implemented. I fully understand and sympathize with the reasonings presented for sticking to a fixed width. But what if someone has a REALLY old computer and the fixed width is too wide to display?
I've always been a big fan of fluid width. I dunno, I just hate wasted space, and I feel that done right, fluid width can accomodate many monitor schemes.
I am no opposed to a fixed width theme, if done right and the wasted space is minimized.
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As Harry says 980 px wide is the standard most commonly compatible with most screens. However that also depends on the resolution of the monitor not the size. The most common resolution for older monitors is 1024 x 768 however some older people (typically ones using an older monitor) do have resolutions of 800 x 600 or even 640 x 480 in which the 980 width is too large and will force side scrolling. Now an issue with that I have found is that people still using these old monitors are not very Nerd Savy and sometimes don't even know a web page scrolls down often let alone sideways! But this segment is very small nowadays and even the 1024 x 768 segment is shrinking fast. I believe it is almost time to consider 1280 as the standard width.
As for what's better fixed or flex I find I use fixed more often because it gives the designer more control over consistent outlook and as well makes it easier for elaborate header and footer graphics. However I would prefer to use the full width of my widescreen if I could and I have seen some very well designed sites that make excellent use of full width without making layout ugly whether viewed wide or narrow.
A poll I would much rather see is peoples RESOLUTIONS!
Your are right what the size of used by people. But if you want a good designed layout, then I think that a fixed format is the best.
Oke the monitors are bigger and more widescreen builded, so that we could go to a wider format. On the other hand, there are enoch people who stays on their old one. For me I will stay for al while on the format of 980 px.
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