6:8 Use Fluid Layouts
Strength of Evidence:
Document Type: Guideline
Page Structure - General
Use a fluid layout that automatically adjusts the page size to monitor resolution settings that are 1024x768 pixels or higher.
When web page layouts are fixed either to the left or centered, much of the available screen space is not used. It is best to take advantage of as much of the screen space as possible because this will help move more information above the fold. There has been no degradation in user performance when using the non-fluid layouts. However, most users prefer the fluid layout. One 2003 study reported a compliance rate for this guideline of twenty-eight percent, and a 2001 study found that only twenty-three percent of top Web sites used a fluid layout. Keep in mind that large monitors and higher pixel resolutions allow viewing of more than one window at a time.
Bernard, M. & Larsen, L. (2001). What is the best layout for multiple-column Web pages? Usability News, 3.2.
Nielsen, J. (2003, November 10). The ten most violated homepage design guidelines. Alertbox. Retrieved November 2005, from http://www.useit.com/alertbox/20031110.html.
Title: Page Frameworks (Web Style Guide, 3rd Edition)
Description: Web pages are plastic in both horizontal and vertical dimensions in a way that paper pages are not. Therefore, even before you decide on a page grid, you need to decide on the fundamental page framework that suits your site best: a fixed-width page or a flexible-width page.
Title: Liquid Layout
Description: This design pattern illustrates how scaling the main content area helps users read text comfortably regardless of the browser window size.
Title: Alertbox: Screen Resolution and Page Layout
Description: Jakob Nielsen argues for liquid layout as a way to adapt a web page to large monitors, varying resolutions, and small mobile devices.
Related Usability Guidelines: