[thelist] resizing in browswer

aardvark roselli at earthlink.net
Tue Mar 20 10:58:33 CST 2001

> From:  Megan Holbrook <meganwh at mediaone.net>
> Has anyone else felt that liquid tables have been a bit oversold? I

perhaps, but it's a good way to start off on a project... some 
projects require something else altogether, but it's a handy catch-

> use a large monitor so that I can have multiple windows open. My
> resolution is set at 1280x960. When a browser window is open, it's
> *large*. 

i think there are a few responses to this... the somewhat rude one 
is, why would you surf at full-screen if it makes things hard to read?

but what this ignores is the *reason* why a developer may use 
liquid tables..

just as we i am always talking about designing for your users, i 
also know not all users do things the way i think they should... 
liquid tables are an example... what i do by creating a liquid site is 
*enable* (or empower, depending on your attitude) the user to 
resize his/her window to a comfortable size...

if the user does not like long lines (or short lines) of text, i've 
allowed that user to control the length of lines almost to the 
character... now, if that user chooses not to resize the window to a 
comfortable size, there's nothing i can do... i've already given 
him/her the ability to control it...

it's same with font sizing... i've got a few sites where people can 
resize the fonts via a button on the page (although the use of CSS 
can allow this, many users don't use the font sizing controls offered 
in the browser)... but they still complain about text being too small 
or too large... i've given the user the ability to control it, but the user 
hasn't taken the opportunity...

> The biggest frustration I have is that reading very wide paragraphs of
> text is difficult and exhausting to the eyes. The width of the text
> prevents me from being able to speed read, which is helpful when I'm
> trying to scan large amounts of text. 

i've already addressed this before, but i am curious why you surf at 
full screen?  or why don't resize windows based on the site?

> However, I also find that very few designs actually work well at a
> large resolutions as they do at the minimum resolution they are
> designed for. Graphic elements seem to float away from one another to
> the four corners of the screen, leaving a wide gulf of open space - to
> me, that's more annoying than having a lot of left-over space. 

agreed, but those designs work well at lower resolutions, and at 
higher resolutions, you'll find the image file sizes swell 
exponentially... creating imagery or layout to fill that space can 
result in a much fatter download...

> Information design is about *design* - it's creating a way to
> communicate with user so that information is easily accessible and
> comprehensible. Just as an effective ad in a magazine creates impact
> not only with its information but also its layout, I find that
> effective web design retains more control over the user experience
> than simply allowing the design elements to expand in all directions
> to fit all browser resolutions. I would love to at least see more web
> designers limiting the width of their text columns.

i don't completely agree with this... information design is about 
facilitating the user's access to the information...

a magazine cannot change its text flow or font sizes based on 
reader preferences, but a web page can... liquid tables are one way 
to do that... the user is given the ability to scale the page to a 
comfortable width...

effective web design isn't about controlling the user experience, 
either... it's about getting the user where he/she wants, while 
providing a good experience... i'm leary of absolutes here, but i 
think that one's pretty simple...

> Comments?


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