The Controversy Continues: Fixed Width or Fluid Design

Size MattersDesignus Fixedwithidus: A web design that has a standard and measurable width, where the content is laid out in a fixed state, and does not change orientation when resizing the browser window.

Designus Fluidious: Sometimes called a 100% width design, full width design, variable width design, etc, this web design does not have a standard measurable width. Rather, the width varies depending on width of the containing window, and the content in the design shifts in accordance with this to fill the entire space.

Fluid Design Pros

Fluid Design Cons

Fixed Width Pros

Fixed Width Cons

So what is my take on this? Well, I've been advocating the pros of fluid design for awhile, but after working with 3 fluid designs on a regular basis, I can tell you that they are kind of a pain in the ass. Especially if you have an eye for design, I think the fluid width is going to mess with your brain because you just can't lay out content and have it stay that way. Also, regarding ad placement, lets say your content is 500px wide at 800x600; perfect for a 468x60 banner at the top or bottom of it. Well if you choose a fluid design, that ad is going to look really awkward if the content is 720px wide at 1024x768. You might want to stick a larger ad on top of that content, but you'd be messing up the design at smaller resolutions.

My current recommendation is to stick with static designs. The worst con for this is that you are leaving people out who have lower resolutions, but don't kid yourself, your fluid design might not be very usable at small resolutions either. If you have a fluid design, look at your stats to see what people are actually viewing your site at. No one, and I mean zero people view this site at anything less than 1024x768 (I was shocked when I saw that, because I'm used to at least 20% at 800x600). So why create a fluid design when I think the text becomes hard to read at resolutions above 1280px wide, and the text gets crunched at 800px wide? It's just not making much sense to me anymore. The End