Patrick Mannix wrote:
> ...I have tentatively decided that the fluid (?) design seen at
> http://www.mhcug.org/members.htm which seems to fit my requirements
> the best. This design is classic three-column with header and footer.
> Column widths are in EMs, such that at default browser font
> settings, the page fits an 800 pixel width display. (First two or
> last two columns can display in 640 window.)
I think that layout-method is best described as 'proportional', as it
isn't really fluid. It is "fixed width layouts" that acts a bit like
Opera-zoom, but on text only, and without the self-adjusting part that
makes real fluid web pages expand within the limits of the browser-window.
> The idea being that as screen resolution increases the USER settings
> are likely to be for larger font size. The columns will expand in
Some users fit that idea, and some don't...
One problem with the method is that some USERS who really need larger
text, may view it on smaller screens/resolutions in order to get even
larger text. In such cases line-lengths may expand too much for their
screens. May end up as a serious accessibility-problem which I haven't
seen addressed anywhere.
Example: I couldn't even get the main column of the example-page to fit
within an 800 wide browser-window with the test-setting I use for large
> I know there is no single best solution, but I hold line length to be
> an important usability concern. The question is: Is this a good
> approach before I begin converting my many (hundreds) of static
It is one of today's trends, but I'm not sure if it's a good one since
it links text-size and page-width to screen-width/browser-width in most
browsers. This proportional linking is overriding everything, so I'm
seriously in doubt whether this "proportional layout" is doing any good
for ordinary visitors, or if it just suits web designers wish for
predictable results. Proportional pages don't break--they just become
Opera has the option to "kill" page-width definition so pages will fit
the browser-window anyway, but that's just one browser. This means that
pages that rely on "proportional layout" is rendered even further from
what a web designer had in mind than any other layout-method in
existence on the web.
Should be obvious from the above that I prefer real fluid designs, and
will rather use max-width and min-width for line-length control. Even a
well-tested combination that'll limit a 'proportional layout' to users
actual and/or preferred browser-window and font-size settings may be a
better solution than the example-page shows. It is easier to fix
IE/win's lack of support for max/min width than to fix all the problems
that a rigid 'proportional layout' may create.
My advise is to test even more across browser-land, and look at other
solutions / combinations.
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