Liquid versus fixed Layouts Design

There is a continuous debate on whether the web designers are to use fixed width or go for liquid layout designs. To the users or readers it is hardly a concern whether the web designer has used liquid width layout or fixed width layout. What actually matters to the readers is whether the site is user friendly and whether it is catering the relevant information they are looking for.

A fixed width layout is that web design when the web content including both textual and non-textual ones does not alter themselves even with change of browsers. But in case of liquid width layouts, the content on the web page flows to adjust itself to fit the window irrespective of the size of the browser window.

But the debate goes on. Now let us find out some basic characteristics that denote some benefits as well as drawbacks of using fixed width layout and liquid layout, used for web designing.

There are a number of benefits of using liquid width layouts. Some are discussed here:

• Liquid width layout designs can be expanded and contracted as required to fill up the available space on the web pages.

• Due to this above mentioned benefits, a web designer can manipulate the content of a web page. The content can be so manipulated so that it suits display on larger monitor as well as viewable on smaller screens.

• The web pages designed in liquid width respond dynamically to different restrictions or any specifications that are entailed by clients. Pages designed with this layout offer consistency in relative widths.

Besides certain benefits of using liquid width layout, there are some drawbacks of using it. Here are some of them:

• Liquid width layouts at times cause problems when dealing with elements that are associated with fixed width. If there is a problem, then all the elements displayed on the web page may not be in correct order.
• With this type of layout all the elements on the web page cannot be controlled.
• This layout may cause disturbance in the display of textual content at times. It can result to too wide view or to too small view creating problem in reading them.

Now let us find out some of the benefits of using fixed width layout for web designing:

• This kind of layout does not cause any hindrance in reading textual parts even if it is viewed in a too wide browser. The scan length is neither affected.

• Browsers that are used to view web pages designed with fixed width layouts do not affect this kind of layout.

• The graphics and the images used on web pages of a site, when designed with fixed width layout do not tend to over power the textual contents on the page, even when viewed on a small monitor.

The drawbacks of using fixed width layouts for web design are mentioned here:

• In case of small browser windows, the web pages designed with fixed width layout will cause scrolling in a horizontal direction. This is a major drawback which users find very inconvenient.

• The web pages designed with this layout are not very flexible towards font sizes. It can deal with slight increase in font size but cannot handle major changes.

• In large monitors, this layout results in covering the white space. This makes vertical scrolling necessary for the web pages.

There are many web designers who opt for a mixed approach towards web designing. If one has clear knowledge about both of the web layout designs then he can efficiently use either of them or both together for designing web pages.


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