Blake Snow

writer-for-hire, content guy, bestselling author

As seen on CNN, NBC, ABC, Fox, Wired, Yahoo!, BusinessWeek, Wall Street Journal
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Liquid vs. fixed website widths (and content)

I’ve been a long-time advocate for fixed-width websites for usability purposes. Humans optimally read when lines have fewer than 14 words on average because the reader can easily find the following line of text. Liquid widths, on the other hand, stretch the content, thus slowing down reading time for most humans.

Engadget — the largest blog on the internet — just updated their site to not only include liquid width for text, but for images as well (resize your browser window and notice how the image scales along with the text using CSS). While I like the effect and have developed sites that store a user preference of either fixed or liquid (see this one for example), I’m still not sold on using liquid widths when reading is involved.

Do you like liquid or fixed-width websites? When would you prefer one over the other?