Remember when fluid layouts were all the rage? It seems like lately, more than 90% of the websites I frequent are using fixed layouts. The WordPress Theme Repository has more than twice the number of fixed-width themes than flexible ones. And all the sites I’ve made for clients in the past year have been fixed-width.
For the record, I usually do offer clients fluid-width designs. They choose to go fixed-width, it seems, because it makes them feel more in-control of the finished layout. And in a world of various browsers and various monitors and different resolutions, feeling in-control over something is a good thing.
The thing is: in a world of various browsers and various monitors and different resolutions, can we ever be in-control of precisely how a website is displayed?
It would be wonderful, indeed, if everyone in the world was using wide-screen monitors set at 1920×1080 resolutions and surfing on the same browser, but that’s simply not the case. My father-in-law, a tech-savvy man of 79, doesn’t like wide-screen monitors and refuses to use anything but 800×600. My mother, who insisted on a wide-screen monitor for the sole purpose of playing Farmville full-screen, doesn’t like having to scroll down a page even an inch.
Why, then, this move away from fluid layouts? Shouldn’t they be the answer to all our problems? Here, for example, is a screenshot of a 770-pixel fixed-width website, as seen on my wide-screen monitor:
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. How many fluid-width sites have you designed lately?