What is a good maximum content area width for web pages?


What is a good maximum content area width for web pages?



Is there a standard max for the width of the main content area of a web page? I want to maximize screen real estate without affecting usability. I've seen a lot of sites stick to 980px or less. Anyone have any suggestions?




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I'm assuming you're referring to the wrapper width since you mentioned 980..
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The most ideal solution is to not think of pixels at all and instead rely on ems/%s and scaling, be as fluid as possible so your design fits on small mobile devices and your elements heights are not fixed but auto.


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Example being: http://www.456bereastreet.com/.
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But if you're stuck with web designers who still think pixel and you know for sure you'll be unable to get them to try making images that are liquid/fluid, I would say shoot for 960 pixels in width so you have enough viewing area in a 1024x768 with scrollbars in IE6/XP, but this really depends on your audience and the majority of your audience's screen resolutions..
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Target either the 800x600 or 1024x768 resolution.. For 800x600 it is around 750px.. For 1024x768 it would be 970px..


3:


Research, such as that referenced here suggests that people have a more difficult time reading long lines of text.

That's why I restrict my content width to 800px or so..


4:


You have to first ask the question.

Who is my audience?.


5:


There's no "standard", especially in this age of PDAs/smartphones/netbooks/smartbooks/kiosks/etc...

- while it may sound cliche, the best thing is to design a fluid layout not depending on exact screen size.. The answer may change depending on your intended/anticipated user base, of course (e.g.

assume 1024 px screen width leaving you with 980 working px - and consciously decide that you are not interested in supporting anyone with smaller screen resolution).. Another solution is to allow size layout customization by making it into portal-like with user having control of layout of the portlets (ala My Yahoo)..


6:


960 is a pretty common standard, and the rationale behind that figure is the fact that fitting on a 1024 pixel wide screen will allow a big majority of your users to see the content without scrolling.

See here for one of 100's of sites that give access to browser & user system capabilities statistics for some initial inspiration.

. But in the end, it'll up to you to understand the structure of your customer base - if your site targets iPhones, targetting 1024 pixel wide screens may not be your smartest decision..


7:


Not sure about absolute pixel values, but one thing I'd make sure of is that the text columns don't get too wide.

There is a number of characters beyond which reading comprehension is impaired..


8:


1000 pixels in width, is what I use which fits into the minimum 1024x768 resolution used these days without a horizontal scroller at the bottom of your browser .....



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