Support » Themes and Templates » Why almost all themes have fixed width?

  • What is so good in fixed width?
    Why people do not make themes which will stretch to the full width of window?

Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 22 total)
  • Moderator Samuel Wood (Otto)

    (@otto42)

    WordPress.org Admin

    Because most designers are lazy and don’t know how to make good variable design. Fixed design is easier, since you have control over all the reference points.

    Designers who create a mockup of a site in something like Photoshop first tend to be especially bad about this, because they’re thinking of the design in terms of a “look” instead of in terms of proper semantics and such.

    Just that?

    I thought that fixed width – something like «the Significant Part of Web Logs Philosophy»…

    🙁

    Do you know good examples of variable themes for WP?

    Fixed width sites allow more control over the exact look of a site. They prevent line lenghts that are way too long or way too short. I don’t really believe that the designers are just lazy.

    i think it is hard to use big graphics in fluid width themes as graphics will not resize automatically 😉

    Also, designers are not lazy. Lol! BTW, this fixed width / fluid width depends upon how the theme is not coded. so it is not part of designing. it is part of coding. coding and designing both are different. most of the designers are not coders from my experience. so we cannot blame the designers for this issue. ha ha 🙂

    apologize me if i am wrong. 🙂

    Moderator Samuel Wood (Otto)

    (@otto42)

    WordPress.org Admin

    I blame designers for the issue because fixed-width designs are the tool of the devil.

    A website should not be fixed width, it should be smart-width. That is, it should adapt to the width of the viewers browser, not arbitrarily surround itself with blank space in the middle of the screen.

    Yes, designers who create fixed width designs are lazy. Too lazy to make a design that scales properly.

    Also, a designer who is not a coder is not a “web designer” because the web is made of code. That’s how it works.

    (No, I do not care for this site’s design either. It makes me scroll too much, since it only takes up 50% of my screen.)

    Otto, If you want a full-width header banner, in xhtml and css2, how do you scale your background? Answer: you don’t and that leads to fixed width design for graphically intensive sites.

    This isn’t JUST lazyness. it’s a lack in browsers that fail to accept the reality of scaling graphics.

    Rick

    Moderator Samuel Wood (Otto)

    (@otto42)

    WordPress.org Admin

    Otto, If you want a full-width header banner, in xhtml and css2, how do you scale your background?

    Correct answer: you should not want a full width header banner.

    Seriously, your problem here is that the banner must be a fixed width (unless you design it in pieces that scale accordingly, like many site designers have done before). Well, in that case, the problem is not to make it scale according to the site width, but to design a site that still looks good under that fixed width banner.

    Call me crazy, but it seems to me that the idea of forcing the entire rest of the site to fit into a single column underneath that fixed width banner (however wide you make it) is about the stupidest solution possible to that problem.

    Seriously, you’re not designing for print here. It’s the web. It’s a web page. It’s dynamic. And if you want to make it look good for print, then you can with alternate print css rules.

    This isn’t JUST lazyness. it’s a lack in browsers that fail to accept the reality of scaling graphics.

    Nonsense. Don’t blame the browser for your own lack of vision. If you want the banner to take up the whole top, then design a banner with space in the middle that can scale, cut the banner in two pieces, stick them in a banner div with a background color, and float them left/right. Or perhaps design overlapping pieces that will look different when pulled apart. Or make a really long banner that will cover the site no matter how wide it is (within reason).

    There’s always a way.

    But it’s not just banners Otto, it’s background images of all sorts.

    Sure, the banner problem is non trivial… the classic example being something like http://sunflowerintergroupoa.org/wordpress/ – where the customer DESPIRITELY wanted a banner across the top, and that image just _isn’t_ going to be chopped into parts and the parts scaled. It’s _an image._

    You have similar problems with other sites that want to do full-graphic backgrounds that extend OUT of the header. This isn’t a failing of the designer. If the software ALLOWED the background images to scale, the designers would move to fluid layouts. Thisis a failing of the software. To say to designers: Restrict yourself to segmented backgrounds which have smooth transitions which can scale and accept that even though this is the web and you can do almost anything, your fully graphic backgrounds are prohibited” is silly.

    If the software evolves to support scaling images, the designers will follow. That’s not to say you can’t do some pretty amazing things with careful setup of the graphics to support fluid widths: http://www.grantvillegazette.com/ but you have to keep the customer happy. Money wins Otto.

    Moderator Samuel Wood (Otto)

    (@otto42)

    WordPress.org Admin

    but you have to keep the customer happy. Money wins Otto.

    No, you really don’t, and no, money does not win. You can always simply drop them as a client.

    Of course, I can pick and choose my customers, since I don’t rely on them for my primary income, however, I would drop a client rather than make them a sub-par site. Sorry, but I have standards.

    Flexible width should be king as far as exceptional design. Those designers who provide flexible width separate themselves from the herd.

    Moderator Samuel Wood (Otto)

    (@otto42)

    WordPress.org Admin

    Also, it IS possible to make a background image scale. Just think outside the box a bit.

    <img id="background" src="whatever.jpg" />
    
    img#background {
    height: 100%;
    width: 100%;
    position:absolute;
    z-index:-1;
    }
    
    body {
    background-color: transparent;
    }

    🙂

    Thats because of the latest widescreen LCDs. I personally prefer a liquid width layout.

    Having to follow/scan lines thirty or forty words long is not easy, and vertical scanning is easier than horizontal scanning. (Usability studies and recommendations that I have read place the best line length at 60 characters or even less.) This is a valid reason to use a fixed width design.

    In my personal use I’m not much affected by such design choices, since I don’t use a maximized browser window. In my site I use a maximum width defined in relative units (the lines in the main column are about 100 characters long, much more than the usability experts recommend), and I also offer an alternative style to switch to full width. But the site has no graphics at all 🙂 so this is easy to implement.

    Moderator Samuel Wood (Otto)

    (@otto42)

    WordPress.org Admin

    Having to follow/scan lines thirty or forty words long is not easy, and vertical scanning is easier than horizontal scanning. (Usability studies and recommendations that I have read place the best line length at 60 characters or even less.) This is a valid reason to use a fixed width design.

    No, it’s more a valid reason to choose your font sizing carefully, as well as to limit the length of your columns to appropriate levels. Who says you have to have only one column of content? More to the point, who says that the number of columns has to be fixed?

    More to the point, who says that the number of columns has to be fixed?

    🙂

    What is your advise in such cases?

    Let the user change font size and the number of columns?
    Or make this automatically?

    I think about selecting header of best size using JavaScript…

Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 22 total)
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