If you must use fixed-width page layouts, don't forget to flush

Steve Outing asks why so many Web sites put their (fixed-width) content flush-left in the browser window, and not in the center.

I’m not a designer, but I know why I do it. When you have centered pages and go from one site to another, the location of the top left of the page in the browser window is going to move every time you go from one site to another.

I find news.com’s centered presentation very disorienting when I move there from pretty much any other site.

Eliminating fixed-width layouts is also better because they give designers the illusion of more control of presentation than they really have. Fixed width for navigation and advertising columns is more justifiable, but content should be set free and more control over presentation should be ceded to the user.

5 thoughts on “If you must use fixed-width page layouts, don't forget to flush

  1. eMarketer looks flush-left to me (Safari).
    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/, otherwise excellent, illustrates both points. The content column is way too narrow, especially if you’re inclined to boost the font size a tick to avoid reaching for one’s reading glasses.

  2. Un-fixing your layout, fixing your CSS
    MediaSavvy brings up two points about fixed-width layouts: Fixed-width layouts should be flush left: I’m not so sure about this one. When I’m going to a new site I don’t expect any of that sites UI elements to be in similar places as …

  3. Un-fixing your layout, fixing your CSS
    MediaSavvy brings up two points about fixed-width layouts: 1. Fixed-width layouts should be flush left: I’m not so sure about this one. When I’m going to a new site I don’t expect any of that sites UI elements to be in similar places …

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