[thelist] Layout Stability

Felix Miata mrmazda at ij.net
Fri Nov 9 15:20:30 CST 2007

On 2007/11/08 10:17 (GMT-0500) DAVOUD TOHIDY apparently typed:

> On Wed, 7 Nov 2007 23:09:53 -0500 Felix Miata wrote:

>> The web is not inherently constrained by your choice of resolutions.

> I agree, however I did design for my choice and there is nothing wrong 
> with that.

"Nothing wrong" is merely your opinion, not a fact. Surely the choice is
yours to make, but the consequences of your choice are a reality whether you
choose to acknowledge their existence or not.

> I did choose the resolutions that I believe has the most common usage. No 
> worry about the other ones.

The fact is you are bastardizing an inherently adaptive and universally
accessible medium by applying arbitrary constraints that result in an
inferior experience and broken access to those you've arbitrarily chosen to
exclude from "worry", primarily those with a higher than average quality
computing environment, no less. This is not necessary, merely your "choice",
whether you intend it so or not.

>> and 1920x1200 (WUXGA) make up at least 97% of the rest on a sales 
>> weighted basis. Most stores have few if any of these latter. In this 
>> context, I believe failure to test with window widths exceeding 1280px 
>> (just how wide is 1280px anyway?) constitutes negligent testing.

> As desginers and coders we can not rely on one or two or more stores.

It isn't about how many stores. Check all the stores you can find, and you'll
no doubt find similar results, because they can only sell what customers will
buy, and what the manufacturers are manufacturing. Your opinion of what
stores are or are not doing will not impact the facts that 800x600 is
little short of extinct, 1024x768 has been heading toward less than 50%
saturation for quite some time, and resolutions equal to or greater than 1280
wide are already large and quickly becoming larger as older equipment dies
and is replaced, combined with outright new systems. Forget not that over
half of new system sales for more than two years have been laptops, and
laptops of less than 1280x800 are getting increasingly difficult to find in
the new equipment marketplace. 1280 wide is the new standard, the starting
point, the minimum for new laptops, displays and complete systems.

> I am pretty much sure you agree that, this needs a more solid study.

No I wouldn't.

> A global study would be reliable but not even a study in a specific 
> geographical area.

Just check the manufacturers' web sites for current models to see what the
selection is. Check the online retailers to see what their in-stock offerings
are. Feel free to study in depth if you think it matters, but the fact is it
needn't matter, and doesn't matter to those who design resolution agnostically.

It doesn't take rocket science to know that people appreciate more bang for
their money. Technology continues to advance. One of those advances is in
higher resolution at lower cost. It's been happening and will continue to
happen, and your ignoring it can't stop it.

>> On the contrary, when actually designing for the web one does not design
>>  for resolutions.

> well when you test your design at a resolution and you notice something 
> wrong with your design, you go back and then recode to fix it. Isn't this 
> designing for resolution? what do you call it? please let me know I will 
> use your definition!

Fixing what you find wrong is called any of refinement, bug fixing,
accessibility enhancement or one or more of several other things. Screen
resolution is merely one of the variables that need to be accounted for in
competent testing.

Resolution as meaning brought to completion or fruition or problem solving is
not what is meant in this context.

>> I see, a layout is supposed to be stable, but only at some arbitrary 
>> selection of screen resolutions chosen by you.

> I beleive a layout must meet the layout stability requirements regardless 
> of circumstances.

Excellent. Now put your belief to practice with vigorous further testing.

>> but I'll note again here that several of the links on the left require 
>> more than one line, one for a mere four characters.

> Well, eventhough, It might have been nicer to have all the links in one 
> line, however I do believe it is the matter of choice. I don't see it as 
> what you call poor design or layout breakage.

I believe if you study other sites you'll find a minimum of vertical nav link
lists that include items that don't fit on one line. Maybe you should give
some thought to why that is. Considering the amount of whitespace to their
immediate and extreme right, it looks especially peculiar that you don't
provide enough space in yours to fit even two words in at least one case.

> Having some links in two lines at different resolutions, will not make a 
> layout

The fact is you have several that take multiple lines, regardless of screen
resolution, so this is not a resolution issue, nor a stability issue, but
instead an aesthetic quality issue. If you are happy with it, that's fine for
you, but don't be disappointed to find lack of universal acclaim from web
design critics for this choice of yours.

> to be considered as an unstable layout. A Layout is considered unstable if
> when resizing the browser's window the content somehow becomes unreadable
> and unusable. Once again I do invite you to revisit my portfolio for the 
> definition of the "Layout Stability" that I have provided.

OK, you want revisit? Here it is:


It has needed doing for some time, so I took quite a bit of time to do it now
to use both here and as future reference to show poorly-adaptive versus
web-friendly resolution-agnostic design. Whether or not you care to ignore
it, as you seem to have done with most other links I've provided for the
purpose of amplifying, supporting or demonstrating comments I've written, or
to classify it as descriptive of "layout stability" is up to you, but it very
definitely shows how sizing column widths in px is destructive to usability
and proportional consistency compared to design using em for sizing instead.
Do note that in the adaptive em-sized page how tiny are the proportional
differences between its rendering in all the resolution examples provided.

>> In my previous reply I gave you two simple examples on my own site (ksc 
>> and dlviolin), ...

> well I think it is not only you having access to internet. I have seen a 
> lot of web sites, and I have learnt what I know now from internet. I swear
> I did not create the xhtml/css etc myself :) . So i did not ask for links
> from you.

> What i asked from you is simply providing a cross 
> resolution/browser/platform solution for what you think is a defect in my 
> portfolio. If you are pointing to a defect then you should provide a 
> solution for it.

Those links constituted examples of what you sought, and/or authority,
support or clarification of comments I made. They weren't pasted in as mere
filler lacking rational relationship to the thread or my comments.

Ksc is a good layout stability example. It behaves in a highly similar manner
regardless text size, screen resolution, web browser or reasonable window
sizes, and accommodates a good range of text size adjustment.

>> I do believe that a pair of narrow columns side by side that do not 
>> remain side by side after using 2 levels of text zoom consitutes 
>> breakage.

> That is exactly true but under what circumstances?

Examine your own URL at more than 1280 wide resolution with commensurately
larger text sizes for the circumstances. 1680x1050 is common now, so those
interested in thorough testing will either find a way to use it, or emulate it.

A way to test without having a screen capable of high resolution is to
temporarily change the text size upward in your own site by the equivalent
amount of zoom steps, then submit the temporarily altered page to one of the
browser testing services that do or can include above average window width

> Could you tell me what the most commonly used resolution/dpi is for a 
> computer screen?

DPI depends on both resolution and screen size. There is too wide a possible
range for an average or most common to be useful. One place with ostensibly
useful resolution statistics is

As to possible DPIs, I direct your attention to the large number I have
tabulated at http://mrmazda.no-ip.com/auth/dpi but note that possible
physical text sizes that result from particular combinations of settings,
hardware, and styling might be more easily understood from examining

> and how many people have their screen's dpi set to 144? and why do i need 
> to design for it and how much extra time/money it needs to design for it? 
> Does it woth it at all? is it economical?

Resolution and DPI have no need to concern a web designer interested in
application of best practices for maximizing all of accessibility, usability,
and consistency cross-browser. It's not supposed to matter. It needn't
matter. When one disregards artificially imposed constraints, and accepts the
strengths of HTML, CSS and other page creation resources rather than fighting
their limitations, most difficulty and "extra" expense should evaporate.
"   A patriot without religion . . . is as great a
paradox, as an honest man without the fear of God."
	                             John Adams

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

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

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