Liquid layouts and holy warfare (WAS RE: [thelist] Jakob Nielsen [was Anti-aliasing])

aardvark roselli at
Tue Feb 26 16:35:01 CST 2002

> From: "John Handelaar" <john at>
> FWIW, this is why 'liquid' sites bug the hell out
> of me.  Usability, to my mind, ought to pay some
> attention to well-established design 'laws'
> regarding the optimal width of text columns.

this is a valid point...

30-70 characters per line tends to be optimal for reading text...

the problem is, how many pixels is 30-70 characters on your
display?  it's not the same as on mine... nor is it the same as on
rudy's (hell, some buy could be running 1,024 with space for only
20 characters per line if the fonts are set high enough)...

so, given that, where do we, as developers, make that cut-off?  at
how many pixels?  dunno that answer to that, cuz it's rhetorical...

however, my solution is to leave it liquid... why?

the numbers say so... what numbers?  look below...

> As someone who more or less always works in
> 1024x768 or (in richer days) higher resolution,
> generally speaking liquid layouts are unreadable
> to me.

which is why i chose to test that by gathering stats on my users,
their screen resolution, bit-depth, and window sizes... very useful
for telling me what i need to consider for a page...

> But I'm in a minority round here.

for surfing full-screen at 1,024x768, yes, you would be on the site... of the 40.8% of users who came in at
1,024x768, you'd already be in the minority... you'd still be in the
larger group of users of 1,024x768, however...

you can see the rest of my numbers at a handy article i wrote for last summer:

Real-World Browser Size Stats, Part II

personally, i can't stand to surf full-screen.... even at 1,600x1,400, i
tend to have windows open to 640px wide or so...

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