Pros and cons of different layout schemes

  • rtm223
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Post 3+ Months Ago

digitalMedia wrote:
rtm223 wrote:
When it site against the left edge of the page, that looks a bit unprofessional.


I tend to differ with you on this point. I very much prefer a left-aligned, fixed width site.

Go to any of the following sites:

http://www.cnn.com/
http://www.foxnews.com/
http://www.sun.com/
http://www.espn.com/
http://www.microsoft.com/
http://www.ibm.com/
http://www.sony.com/

They all have some things in common. They are all left-aligned, fixed-width sites. They all target 800 x 600 resolutions. These companies have put hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars into developing higly usable UI's. They haven't used this method because of an oversight.

In my opinion, left-aligned, fixed-width sites work well because the majority of their users are from the so-called "western world", where we all start reading from the top left hand corner and work our way to the right, until we get to the end of a line, at which point we go back to the left and start on the next line.


(I have since retracted my original opinion)

This was a convo in someone's review topic, so rather than continuing to hijack that, I thought I'd post here.

The question is:

What are people's thoughts on different layaouts (fluid, center and left-aligned), and why people think that each type works (or doesn't work)... I'm not so sure about the reasoning of the left-to-right reading, as you still get that with center-aligned and fluid.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

  • digitalMedia
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Good call rtm223. I had thought about starting a similar thread after that conversation. I think it's very interesting how people determine which layout style to use. Some poeple do all their site in one style, etc.

I've been experimenting with a personal site lately. It's fixed width and is aligned to the bottom-right corner with the logo on the bottom and the content above. Kind of the anti layout if you will.

Personally, I let the content determine the site layout. I haven't done a centered fixed-width layout in a long time.

Here's the rest of my defense of left aligned site, that rtm left out (as my contribution to the discussion)

digitalMedia wrote:
**********************

Client: My wife/friend/cousin/neighbor just pulled up the development site and they said there's a great deal of space on the right hand side that isn't being used.

Me: Have that person go to any of these sites(as listed above) and then call me back to discuss.

...later

Client: Wow! He/she/we/I never noticed that before.

Me: That was my point.

*******************


There are many advantages to developing a site this way. Absolute positioning, for me, is a huge advantage. Paragraphs that don't back-flow into a single line is something I consider important for readability. All browsers, regardless of OS, do a few things by default without exception - one of them is starting content in the top left corner.


**I just wanted to share these thoughts because the claim that a site should be liquid, or centered is a an argument I hear over and over again and I only ask that you consider an alternative view.


Thanks
  • SharkShark
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I tend to prefer all of my sites centered. because I build mine ina 1024 screen size, but some ppl i know view only with 800x600. Therefore a left aligned site while looking good in 800 tends to look odd (in my opinion) in 1024. So centering makes it look good on both resolutions
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Post 3+ Months Ago

rtm223 wrote:
I'm not so sure about the reasoning of the left-to-right reading, as you still get that with center-aligned and fluid.


Apart from layout, one of my biggest petpeeves is centered bodies of text. Really irks the heck out of me.

...and I think I was trying to support the idea that people generally don't notice that a site is left aligned, not that you can't achieve readability with other layout types.

;)
  • rtm223
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Post 3+ Months Ago

well thats what I thought, but when you go to those sites dm links to, they all left align, and their must be good reasons for it. These really are big boys in the website world, a lot of research goes in.


Sorry for leaving out some of the text - didn't wanna put people of by making it too long in the first post...
  • rtm223
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Ahh - I see now.

the day before you had posted that I had spent about an hour on the microsoft website, and I saw your links and I thought to myself:

"microsoft is a fluid layout"...

Then I went to it :shock: I then started looking at the deeper pages because I was convinced that the day before it was fluid. :oops:

I guess you are right about people noticing. I notice when I'm building a site or when I'm looking critically at a site, but if I just go to a site for info, I don't notice...

The thing is why though... what makes these people choose a left aligned?

I assume by bodies of text you mean whole paragraphs? I personally like justified text, especially as I have been playing around with text-wrapping recently, and that sucks on the right hand side if you aren't justified!
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I wasnt refering to the text on a layout, I was refering to the whole site. I prefer text to be left to right cause that is how people read and its much easier for them to understand your site. If you guys were refering to the text on a page Im sorry I misunderstood you and were referring to the layout :wink: But the text should definatly go left to right. layout should be centered.
  • rtm223
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Post 3+ Months Ago

no no no.... the text align was a side track

This is about aligning the page. Go to DM's links and see that many of the big names in web sites have the page aligned to the left. We were discussing the possible merits to such a design.

Saying that the page should be centered flies in the face of reason when you look at these sites....
  • SharkShark
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I see what your saying......ok...well.....I guess it works :lol: I don't know, that big white space on the right just bugs me, but im sure thats just a personal prob of mine :lol: still if it works for CNN then im sure we can all live with it somehow. HEHE
  • joebert
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Wonder how many people fill that white space with a favorites bar, search bar or one of the other sidebars ?
  • rtm223
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Interesting joebert, and thats another good reason to put to atno about 800x600 resolution not being dead...
  • digitalMedia
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Post 3+ Months Ago

that's a wild new avatare joebert! I like it. Kinda spooky. :P
  • Tone2k11
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I always make my sites centre in browser, like what rtm said (when he rudely posted over my site review (Jk) lol) I also like the site to appear symetrical.

And as mentioned above, it is nice to be able to have your favourites there.
  • Tom the Great
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I personally like the center aligned site... for some things. It really depends on the type of web site it is and the way it is designed.

For the site I am slowly working on I think I might have the site just stretch out, since it will mostly my tables+text not many graphics.

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