Why having a 100% width Website is a BAD IDEA

I live in South Africa, not the most technological advanced place in the world, but we’re slowly but surely getting there! The big thing is that a lot of people on the internet still has older computers, with smaller monitors with maximum resolutions of 1280×1024, or even 1024×768!

If you’re one of the lucky few who have a fancy new 23 inch Full HD monitor, you will have access to a maximum resolution of 1920×1080 pixels – amazing right? That gives you a nice and big work area on your computer!

There is one problem though. Websites that were designed to fill the screen completely from side to side, look absolutely, shockingly terrible on these monitors! Paragraphs that are usually several lines, are now one or two lines at most, and reading that is not fun, the neck strain from going back and forth is unbearable, also losing your place is much easier…

Any website must be a pleasant experience for its visitors – you don’t want to irritate your visitors in any way – people lose interest in something in record time these days, because there will always be something better elsewhere. That’s the main reason I highly, HIGHLY, recommend to not have a website that is the full width of the screen.

Here are some of the reasons why we build website to be a fixed width:

1. It just looks better – when a website can stretch as the screen gets bigger, it becomes this huge elongated mess that is difficult to read, and it’s really not fun visiting such websites!
2. Making a site look good at all resolutions is a huge undertaking.
3. You must accommodate visitors with older screens (or even newer screens set to a lower resolution)
4. More and more people are browsing websites on their cellphones, and if you have big websites that are too wide, they’re going to have a hard time viewing your site.

And, some examples of website that have a FIXED WIDTH:

www.google.com
www.facebook.com
www.rgtwebhositng.com
www.rgcms.co.za
www.sugarandspicegraphicdesign.com

plus about 95% of the other websites out there… Just think how bad it would be to search stuff on google, and have the results stretched over the whole screen! OUCH!

In fact, all of our websites have a FIXED WIDTH. If you plan on having a web designer build you a 100% wide website, good luck in finding one, because it won’t be us!

About the Author: Rudi van der Walt is a programmer and webdesigner and owner of RG Technologies a leading provider of good quality webhosting and web development. He also sub-contracts for o5webdesign.