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Fluid vs fixed width, pros and cons, running both at the same time and design constraints

Discussion in 'XenForo Questions and Support' started by RobinHood, Jul 19, 2011.

  1. RobinHood

    RobinHood Well-Known Member

    So I've been thinking about fluid vs fixed width issues for a while.

    Using a large monitor myself and after getting used to fluid widths for many forums I really like being able to utilise my extra screen real estate. However on the other hand from a beginner designer viewpoint it's much easier to design and update a fixed width banner image, plus you can then have funky background images behind that yet again (granted only people with larger screen will probably appreciate.)

    I'm wondering if it's possible to, or worth offering users the option to go with fixed width or fluid width and have two different banner designs?

    Main problem I'm thinking is if I do that it could screw with the layout of things on my portal, as I'd want to use the current news slider on the fixed width version and an expandable accordion version on the fluid width.

    The shout box would also need to scale but I'm sure a bit of css code modification could take care of that pretty easily?

    Is it worth even considering this or should I just pick one and stick with it? What do y'all think?
  2. Steve F

    Steve F Well-Known Member

    There are many forums that run a fluid & fixed width styles at the same time for their users. As you said some issues may arise but usually can be worked out with a little CSS and trail & error. For me I go with fixed width designs because I am on a 26" monitor @ 1920x1200 res. Trying to read a post on a fluid style is rather tedious on the eyes after a while. A lot of websites, especially news and social sites, keep around 980px width for the viewing area.
  3. glorify

    glorify Well-Known Member

    The only problem I run into is making features available for both styles. It's a pain, but if I have a photo slider that looks good in a fixed width, but not fluid, I have to figure out how to design it for both widths, or not at all. Other than that, no problems.
  4. Panupat

    Panupat Well-Known Member

    I like fixed width. I found fluid to be quite annoying on very high resolution screens. It gets so wide making the whole site looks ridiculous.
  5. Kim

    Kim Well-Known Member

    I am on the record here for passionately hating fixed width forums.. but.... I have had to revise my thinking a little I have to confess. I have seen some good fixed width forums (seen many many more poor quality ones though)

    Websites I have no problem with fixed width, just forum sites, I personally like a big wide reading area for forums, even though I know some people don't like it or think it looks ridiculous, to me on 1920x1024 a skinnly little strip of forum sitting lonely in the middle looks ridiculous. So there is no accounting for taste, what one person loves another might seriously hate.

    I think the really important thing is to offer the choice, always always always design your themes to be fluid first and foremost, making a fluid well constructed design into a fixed width one is a matter of seconds... making a poorly designed poorly constructed for 980px design from fixed to fluid is very hard to do, and very time consuming.

    Start with the best quality fluid and you can fix to your hearts content.
    faeronsayn, EQnoble and Forsaken like this.
  6. erich37

    erich37 Well-Known Member

    I am not sure what is better - fixed or fluid width ?
    Looking at many big websites, the width of their content pages are having fixed width. But if you have a fixed width you are actually decreasing your space-property as you just loose space ?

    Also, when having a fixed width style and then clicking on large embedded images within a thread, those images overlay the forum-post underneath the previous forum-post containing the image.
    This looks kinda strange to me.

    What is better for the user? I see Facebook and Youtube also having some kind of fixed-width....
  7. Brogan

    Brogan XenForo Moderator Staff Member

    Fixed width is an absolute must for me, so I can control the layout.

    Also, and I have said this before, scanning a widescreen monitor from left to right to read text is very tiring.
    There's a reason why newspaper columns are narrow.
    GeeksChat, erich37 and Steve F like this.
  8. Digital Doctor

    Digital Doctor Well-Known Member

    would today's oddly wide monitors make fluid width sites look weirdo ?
  9. RobinHood

    RobinHood Well-Known Member

    Yeah, good call. One of my favourite forums is fluid width and I sometimes find it weird going to fixed width ones if the forum contains long posts, I often prefer the design layout of fixed width ones though.

    Reading long paragraphed posts are such a pleasure to read on a large screen at fluid width compared to if the site was fixed width.

    I think for readability my preference swings towards fluid width as a primary view even if it's a bit more difficult to design well, but then adding a fixed option for those who prefer it.
  10. aculate

    aculate Well-Known Member

    been running a forum for 5 years, always used the default fluid style.
    Not anymore... i've been testing xenForo for the last couple of days , both fluid and fixed. I've decide it to go with fixed... 986px. Mostly because of design and because the rest of the site is all fixed at 986px... so consistency is also an issue for me.
    Can wait to show the new forum to the my users !!!
  11. Ingenious

    Ingenious Well-Known Member

    This is down to personal preference which means there is no right or wrong way to do it, plus you won't get everyone agreeing. My opinion is that I prefer fixed width, to my eyes it looks better, so many websites on the net run in a fixed width so it does not look out of place. The only downer for a fixed width forum in the old days was people posting up huge images and breaking it, but this is well fixed for now in the new generation software including Xenforo, so the images are scaled into the forum. The only thing to worry about is ensuring your background colour or image either looks amazing or is neutral, so won't overpower your forum on the screens of people with massive resolution.

    I have run this forum in the fixed width style for some time and to my eyes it looks so much neater than the default fluid layout.
    JVCode likes this.

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