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Sunday, June 06, 2010

Fixed width versus fluid width templates

The very first task after settling on a URL of a blogger would be to select a template. Initially you can select any as they can be easily changed. However, eventually you will have to select the final template for the blog and that can either be a fixed width layout or a fluid (liquid) width layout.

Definition: Fixed layouts are layouts that start with a specific width for the main column and sidebars, determined by the template designer. They remain that width, regardless of the size of the browser window viewing the page. Fixed width layouts allow a designer more direct control over how the page will look in most situations. They are often preferred by designers with a print background, as they allow the designer to make minute adjustments to the layout and have them remain consistent across browsers and computers. (Fixed width layout)

Definition: Liquid layout are layouts that are based on percentages of the current browser window's size. They flex with the size of the window, even if the current viewer changes their browser size as they're viewing the site. Liquid width layouts allow a very efficient use of the space provided by any given Web browser window or screen resolution. They are often preferred by designers who have a lot of information to get across in as little space as possible, as they remain consistent in size and relative page weights regardless of who is viewing the page. (Liquid Layout)

The reason why some bloggers may opt for the fluid width template is that they want to fully utilize the whole width of a computer screen of a visitor so there will be no "wasted' blank space anywhere as the content of the blog will stretch or shrink according the the width of the computer screen. This however bring the disadvantage of not being in full control over how a visitor view the blog and may result in some unintended results such as when you add a wide photo which may look very awkward on a small narrow screen.

I very much prefer fixed width template as I will then know what are the limits of what I can put in the content with fixed widths.
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