At a recent conference, the pro's and con's of fixed, liquid, and elastic layout was the topic of a lively debate. I'm interested on what the uwebd members think, along with any good references. Here are a couple references I have:
In my opinion, it's not really about choosing one. I think each has its benefits. As long as it is compliant with coding standards, use which ever layout best suits the needs of the site and its audience.
I like Molly's answer - "it depends" ;) I don't see how you can take a stand without taking the rest of the design into consideration. I tend to prefer a stretchy layout with a max-width and min-width set, especially since IE6 use is declining. But I've made fixed-width sites because it made sense with that particular site & design.
I remember reading that the site visitor tends to prefer dynamic layout (but I can't remember where). Graphic designers prefer the static width because it doesn't take so much effort to design for something that stays the same size all the time.
I go back and forth on this issue. We use a fixed width at case.edu because:
1) Liquid is more complicated and we distribute templated designs to users of varying skills who might easily break a liquid layout. (They're actually regular HTML files rather than Dreamweaver templates.)
2) We want to ensure our maintainers don't build pages with line lengths that are too long and thus harder to read.
3) We try to limit the space available because people have a tendency of filling up whatever space is available. If they have large monitors they could really overcrowd a page not realize how messy it gets on smaller displays.
As you can see the bulk of these issues relate to the fact that our sites are distributed and build and maintained by people of varying skill levels. If I were working on one site alone and I was doing the coding then I'd base the decision on goals, content, etc.
If the site will be better in liquid layout, I do it...
If the site will be better in static layout, I do it...
I spend more time to do a liquid layout, but it is necessary sometimes. The studies of architeture information and users decides what I will do.
I'm really hot on base line grid design these days (maybe too much) but fluid width site design pretty much rules that out. The other issue I have with purely fluid design is that it tends to not look so good on my really gargantuan monitors :) But like others have said, it really all depends.
The HighEdWeb 2020 Accessibility Summit is a one-day, online conference about digital accessibility in higher education happening June 25, 2020, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. CDT.Join in to learn best practices, share stories and connect with your higher ed peers on topics including social media accessibility, web development, user experience and more. Sessions are designed to boost knowledge at every level, from accessibility beginners to technical experts. Conference registration is $25, with…See More
October 19-20, 2020https://2020.highedweb.org/#HEWeb20 Join us ONLINE for HighEdWeb 2020, the conference created by and for higher education professionals across all departments and divisions. Together we explore and find solutions for the unique issues facing digital teams at colleges and universities. In 2020, the Conference will be held completely online, offering multiple tracks of streamed presentations, live…See More
October 18-21, 2020 in Little Rock, Arkansas, USAhttps://2020.highedweb.org/#HEWeb20 Join us for HighEdWeb 2020, the conference created by and for higher education professionals across all departments and divisions. Together we explore and find solutions for the unique issues facing digital teams at colleges and universities. With 100+ diverse sessions, an outstanding keynote presentation, intensive workshops, and engaging networking events,…See More
The 2020 Annual Conference of the Higher Education Web Professionals Association (HighEdWeb) will travel to Little Rock, Arkansas, this October 18-21 — and the call for proposals is now open! As a digital professional in higher education, we know you have great ideas and experiences to share. From developers, marketers and programmers to managers, designers, writers and all team members in-between, HighEdWeb provides valuable professional development for all who want to explore the unique…See More