Are Fluid Websites Worth Making Anymore?

Posted on 31st Oct, 2009 in CSS Advanced

First of all it depends on your audience and your content. Amazon and Wikipedia are only couple of examples and are one of the most visited websites in the world. When asking a question like this or even thinking of creating a fluid layout the first thing that pops-out in most front end developers is “How is it going to look in IE6?”. Well we all want to stop supporting IE6 but that’s not the case with all there visitors that are using it. According to w3Schools 13% of the Web uses IE6. That’s a good reason to support IE6.

Simple ideological dislike is not enough to dump IE6. Some people are arguing that in most modern browsers you can hold control and scroll your mouse wheel to basically re-size any website. So why should we make the layout fluid, browsers have the problem solved. Well most users aren’t that savvy to know all the features and shortcuts. You have to realize most computer users don’t even KNOW HOW to zoom in the browser! Most users are so far from the understanding of computers that we have. We always have to remember that fact. Making a website fluid, by adding a min/max-width attribute seems to be the best of both worlds. You support fluidity, but you limit it at a certain width (say, 800px and 1200px). So, it is up to you to decide and when you go to your next meeting and client says “I want my layout to be fluid” here are some things you talk about before you take the final decision:

  1. Text is hard(er) to read when lines are very long.
  2. Your audience may have larger or smaller resolutions than normal, and picking an ‘incorrect’ static width will annoy them.
  3. Maintaining a fluid site can be, but doesn’t have to be much more difficult than its static counterpart.