[thelist] Screen Resolution, which to design for?

Felix Miata mrmazda at ij.net
Mon Jan 15 22:03:59 CST 2007

On 2007/01/15 21:32 (GMT-0600) Kimberley Rivero apparently typed:

> I also disagree that columns of text should be coded so that they are
> of a fluid width.

A fluid width doesn't necessarily fill a viewport. Fluid means
adaptable, as is the very nature of the web when unconstrained by
deziners who can't think outside their local mousetype fixed width paradigm.

>  When an area of text gets wider than a certain
> point, about 500 pixels wide with my set up, that text gets hard for
> me to read.  As a designer I feel I have a responsibility to deliver
> readable, and relatively narrow columns of text to my users.

The problem with that is you have no idea how wide your columns are when
you set their widths in px. 500px is only 40% of my viewport width. If
your visitor finds columns too wide, she can adjust her viewport width
to a more comfortable width. The same is not true for the converse.
Typical users have no clue how to replace too short lines with
reasonable length lines.

> I see why Nielsen and other usability experts call for fluid designs,
> since a pixel to me is not the same amount of real-world space as it
> is to you.  But I cannot support letting a column of text get so wide
> that it becomes difficult to read.

That's why max-width and min-width and em sizing exist. There's no need
for px, nor any predictable relationship between some px width and the
text size appropriate for the visitor's local environment. OTOH, when
you set a width based upon the em size of the text, you can be assured
that the line lengths will be reasonably correct regardless of local

> Using the web is primarily about reading content and we need to make
> it as easy on our users as possible to do that.


> Ironically I find Jakob Nielsen's UseIt site to be difficult to read.
> His columns are too wide, imho.

I think you'll find his attitude is that that's something you as visitor
have the power to appropriately control, unlike pages where the author
has imposed some arbitrary limit unrelated to the visitor environment.
"I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."
						John 10:10 NIV

 Team OS/2 ** Reg. Linux User #211409

Felix Miata  ***  http://mrmazda.no-ip.com/

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