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Friday, May 08, 2009

Fixed width template horizontal scroll bar

A blogger told me that some of his readers complained of seeing a horizontal scroll bar (at the bottom of the screen) while he himself found no issue. I am guessing that he must be using a fixed width template optimized for screen resolutions greater than those of his readers while he himself is using the wider screen so see no horizontal scroll bar. These are the standard screen resolutions - 800x600, 1024x768, 1280x1024, 1152x864, 1600x1200 (the first figure is the width) and fixed width templates are usually optimized for one of these.

A few years ago, nearly all fixed width templates are optimized for 800x600 and visitors with 800x600 screen will see the whole width of the blog without any horizontal scroll bar while those with wider screen will likely complained of "wasted blank space" on one or both sides of the screen. This blog in fact previously used such a fixed width template (800x600) but because surfers with 800x600 screens and smaller have become a very small minority while the vast majority of surfers have 1024x768 screens and bigger. Thus this blog's template have been upgraded to a 4 column fixed width template optimized for 1024x768. Thus visitors with 1024x768 screens will see the blog fill nicely the whole width of the screen (with no horizontal scroll bar) while those with wider screen will again see "wasted blank space" on one or both sides of the screen.

However, those with smaller screen will have the part of the right side of the blog hidden and will have to use the horizontal scroll bar to view the hidden part. You can view this yourself by resizing the screen to 800x600 (view this blog with Firefox and type or copy-paste this: "javascript:top.resizeTo(800,600)"
without the quotation marks into the address bar and press the ENTER or RETURN key). This appearance of the horizontal scroll bar is considered a nuisance and web designers will try to avoid this. However, since 800x600 screens are a very small minority, I feel fairly safe to opt for template optimized for the wider screen of 1024x768.

I would suggest to the blogger to view his blog with Firefox and resize the screen to 800x600 or 640x480 to see what his readers see (type or copy-paste javascript:top.resizeTo(800,600) or javascript:top.resizeTo(640,480) into the address bar of Firefox and press the ENTER key).
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