Liquid Layouts not always appropriate ?

Discussion in 'HTML' started by Synapse Syndrome, Jan 21, 2008.

  1. I would say that there is always a case for using absolute positioning on
    webpages rather than liquid layouts. Absolute positioning is used on most
    big websites.

    For example, I cannot see how The Guardian news site would be as clear when
    using liquid layouts. www.guardian.co.uk

    Would anybody say that liquid layouts are always what is most desirable, and
    that when that they are not used it is due to the incompetence of the
    designer?

    Cheers

    ss.
     
    Synapse Syndrome, Jan 21, 2008
    #1
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  2. Synapse Syndrome

    Neredbojias Guest

    Well bust mah britches and call me cheeky, on Mon, 21 Jan 2008 18:36:07
    GMT Synapse Syndrome scribed:

    >
    > I would say that there is always a case for using absolute positioning
    > on webpages rather than liquid layouts. Absolute positioning is used
    > on most big websites.


    You would be wrong.

    > For example, I cannot see how The Guardian news site would be as clear
    > when using liquid layouts. www.guardian.co.uk


    Actually, the site is somewhat successfully liquid via javascript. This
    demonstrates that the site _could have_ been completely liquid had the
    creator been less inept.

    > Would anybody say that liquid layouts are always what is most
    > desirable, and that when that they are not used it is due to the
    > incompetence of the designer?


    Not I, but those using fixed layouts almost never have to.

    --
    Neredbojias
    Riches are their own reward.
     
    Neredbojias, Jan 21, 2008
    #2
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  3. "Neredbojias" <> wrote in message
    news:Xns9A2C8E8EB5DCCnanopandaneredbojias@194.177.96.78...
    >
    >> For example, I cannot see how The Guardian news site would be as clear
    >> when using liquid layouts. www.guardian.co.uk

    >
    > Actually, the site is somewhat successfully liquid via javascript. This
    > demonstrates that the site _could have_ been completely liquid had the
    > creator been less inept.


    Inept? I'd have to disregard what else you've said in that case. That site
    is often used as an example of good design in the UK. Could you find a
    better designed news site? I really doubt it. Making that site with a
    liquid layout would bring a lot of formatting problems to the people making
    the content. It'd just be a mess.

    ss.
     
    Synapse Syndrome, Jan 21, 2008
    #3
  4. Synapse Syndrome

    Nik Coughlin Guest

    "Synapse Syndrome" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Making that site with a liquid layout would bring a lot of formatting
    > problems to the people making the content. It'd just be a mess.


    Um, that's simply not true. This statement makes me think that you don't
    really understand the concept of liquid layouts. This site would be quite
    easy to make fluid. It wouldn't make any different whatsoever to the people
    generating the content. My belief that you don't understand is reinforced
    by your use of the term absolute positioning instead of fixed width.
    Absolute positioning means something quite different -- I use absolute
    positioning in my liquid layouts.
     
    Nik Coughlin, Jan 21, 2008
    #4
  5. Synapse Syndrome

    dorayme Guest

    In article <>,
    "Synapse Syndrome" <>
    wrote:

    > "Neredbojias" <> wrote in message
    > news:Xns9A2C8E8EB5DCCnanopandaneredbojias@194.177.96.78...
    > >
    > >> For example, I cannot see how The Guardian news site would be as clear
    > >> when using liquid layouts. www.guardian.co.uk

    > >
    > > Actually, the site is somewhat successfully liquid via javascript. This
    > > demonstrates that the site _could have_ been completely liquid had the
    > > creator been less inept.

    >
    > Inept? I'd have to disregard what else you've said in that case. That site
    > is often used as an example of good design in the UK. Could you find a
    > better designed news site? I really doubt it. Making that site with a
    > liquid layout would bring a lot of formatting problems to the people making
    > the content. It'd just be a mess.
    >



    OK lets look at a typical page:

    <http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,,2244122,00.html>

    It uses a transitional doctype. Perhaps this is ok. Some people
    will wonder what it is transitioning from. But still it has lots
    of errors. I saw a count above 80.

    There are some css ones too. Perhaps these latter things are not
    that important and due to various hacks to ward off greater
    dangers...

    But there are some nasty looking things like body {font-size:
    small...} which do not auger well. It is not a good thing to
    start the day with. The authors actually admit (in a comment on
    body):

    "For most browsers we want to default to font-size small, but for
    IE 5 PC we want to use x-small, as it's font sizes are one size
    out"

    Now, I am not saying that a table layout is a terrible crime - it
    is not - but you cannot have a table layout like this site uses
    these days for non tabular material and trumpet too loudly its
    good design, much less hold it up as an example.

    Not saying the site is incompetent. It is not.

    --
    dorayme
     
    dorayme, Jan 21, 2008
    #5
  6. Synapse Syndrome

    Andrew Guest

    Synapse Syndrome wrote:
    > I would say that there is always a case for using absolute positioning on
    > webpages rather than liquid layouts.


    I think you're confused here - it's not a "rather than". A web page can
    use absolute positioning and still be liquid. Presumably you mean fixed
    layout using absolute positioning.

    > Absolute positioning is used on most big websites.


    Which ones did you check, and by what criteria did you decide if they
    counted as big? Or is that one of those made up claims convenient to
    your argument? And do you mean fixed layout here?

    > For example, I cannot see how The Guardian news site would be as clear when
    > using liquid layouts. www.guardian.co.uk


    It's not very clear if your browser canvas is narrower than the page's
    width - scrolling in both directions is required to see everything. It
    also fell to bits in Internet Explorer 6.

    It does degrade well with CSS disabled (apart from the slightly strange
    double-link lists.) It's certainly perfectly clear that way, perhaps
    just less visually appealing.

    Mostly I quite like the design, but it's another of these sites that,
    for me, crams too much information into every available space, as if
    it's desirable to match newspaper layout on the web. I'd prefer more
    white space and a design that gradually leads me from the most important
    information to the finer details.

    > Would anybody say that liquid layouts are always what is most desirable, and
    > that when that they are not used it is due to the incompetence of the
    > designer?


    "Always" would be a bit strong, but liquid layouts are a major strength
    of the web that most visual media just don't have. There could be
    conceivably be situations where the requirements of a design outweigh
    the benefits of a liquid layout and demand a fixed layout instead, but I
    can't think of one right now. Outwith such situations, why remove the
    ability to cater for wide-ranging user needs or preferences?

    I've never seen the idea better expressed than by the late Alan J. Flavell:

    "As if a tailor would make a suit to fit only one ideal customer,
    rather than for the actual customers who want to buy one. *But* in
    the case of the web, the web "tailor" only has to make one suit,
    provided he knows how to make it so that it adapts /itself/ to the
    client requirements."

    Andrew
     
    Andrew, Jan 21, 2008
    #6
  7. Synapse Syndrome

    Ben C Guest

    On 2008-01-21, dorayme <> wrote:
    > In article <>,
    > "Synapse Syndrome" <>
    > wrote:
    >
    >> "Neredbojias" <> wrote in message
    >> news:Xns9A2C8E8EB5DCCnanopandaneredbojias@194.177.96.78...
    >> >
    >> >> For example, I cannot see how The Guardian news site would be as clear
    >> >> when using liquid layouts. www.guardian.co.uk
    >> >
    >> > Actually, the site is somewhat successfully liquid via javascript. This
    >> > demonstrates that the site _could have_ been completely liquid had the
    >> > creator been less inept.

    >>
    >> Inept? I'd have to disregard what else you've said in that case. That site
    >> is often used as an example of good design in the UK. Could you find a
    >> better designed news site? I really doubt it. Making that site with a
    >> liquid layout would bring a lot of formatting problems to the people making
    >> the content. It'd just be a mess.
    >>

    >
    >
    > OK lets look at a typical page:
    >
    ><http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,,2244122,00.html>


    You're right that is a typical page, and they've been like that for
    years. They recently (a few months ago) redid the main front page and
    some other bits, which is more likely to be what the OP is saying is an
    example of good design.

    > It uses a transitional doctype. Perhaps this is ok. Some people
    > will wonder what it is transitioning from. But still it has lots
    > of errors. I saw a count above 80.


    It's awful. The way they've done those headings ("Home", "UK", etc.)
    across the top is particularly horrific.

    One table nested inside another, for no apparent reason, all in a center
    element. The inner table is set to 'width="1"' so any heading with
    spaces in it has them substituted with &nbsp;.

    Lots of missing tags and tags in the wrong places.

    [...]
    > Not saying the site is incompetent. It is not.


    It's very old and perhaps some of the bizarre ways of doing things in
    there are there because they were the only things that "worked" in those
    days.

    No excuse for the broken tag structure though.
     
    Ben C, Jan 21, 2008
    #7
  8. "Nik Coughlin" <> wrote in message
    news:fn33ic$589$...
    >> Making that site with a liquid layout would bring a lot of formatting
    >> problems to the people making the content. It'd just be a mess.

    >
    > Um, that's simply not true. This statement makes me think that you don't
    > really understand the concept of liquid layouts. This site would be quite
    > easy to make fluid. It wouldn't make any different whatsoever to the
    > people generating the content.


    Like how would they keep everything in sections, without it fragmenting too
    much? If it could easily be made liquid, why didn't they then? I /think/ I
    understand the concept of liquid layouts. I don't think there is much to
    understand, is there?

    > My belief that you don't understand is reinforced by your use of the term
    > absolute positioning instead of fixed width. Absolute positioning means
    > something quite different -- I use absolute positioning in my liquid
    > layouts.


    Yes, excuse me. I actually knew that, but as you suspect, I do not know
    that much at this stage. I did mean fixed width, but I did not know that
    you could use AP Divs with liquid layouts. My personal experience is
    limited to centralised fixed width divs so far.

    ss.
     
    Synapse Syndrome, Jan 21, 2008
    #8
  9. "dorayme" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    >
    > OK lets look at a typical page:
    >
    > <http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,,2244122,00.html>
    >
    > It uses a transitional doctype. Perhaps this is ok. Some people
    > will wonder what it is transitioning from. But still it has lots
    > of errors. I saw a count above 80.
    >
    > There are some css ones too. Perhaps these latter things are not
    > that important and due to various hacks to ward off greater
    > dangers...
    >
    > But there are some nasty looking things like body {font-size:
    > small...} which do not auger well. It is not a good thing to
    > start the day with. The authors actually admit (in a comment on
    > body):
    >
    > "For most browsers we want to default to font-size small, but for
    > IE 5 PC we want to use x-small, as it's font sizes are one size
    > out"
    >
    > Now, I am not saying that a table layout is a terrible crime - it
    > is not - but you cannot have a table layout like this site uses
    > these days for non tabular material and trumpet too loudly its
    > good design, much less hold it up as an example.
    >
    > Not saying the site is incompetent. It is not.


    The basic template for that page is actually pretty old, and it was a while
    ago that I saw the site being used as an example. It is the main front page
    that has recently been redesigned (and made to fit a 1024 screen width, from
    800).

    ss.
     
    Synapse Syndrome, Jan 21, 2008
    #9
  10. Synapse Syndrome

    dorayme Guest

    In article <>,
    "Synapse Syndrome" <>
    wrote:

    > I /think/ I
    > understand the concept of liquid layouts. I don't think there is much to
    > understand, is there?


    It depends. Most authors don't understand it. So the problem may
    be finding this "not very much to understand" animal in the
    jungle. Once caught, it might well be a grey thing that you are
    severely disappointed with or are very impressed with. What did
    you catch?

    --
    dorayme
     
    dorayme, Jan 21, 2008
    #10
  11. Synapse Syndrome

    dorayme Guest

    In article <>,
    "Synapse Syndrome" <>
    wrote:

    > "dorayme" <> wrote in message
    > news:...
    > >
    > > OK lets look at a typical page:
    > >
    > > <http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,,2244122,00.html>
    > >


    > The basic template for that page is actually pretty old, and it was a while
    > ago that I saw the site being used as an example. It is the main front page
    > that has recently been redesigned (and made to fit a 1024 screen width, from
    > 800).



    As Ben C surmised.

    OK. The home page looks well. I have not really examined it but
    here is just one comment to do with something you asked - liquid
    design. I can understand a big site with lots of info not able to
    be quite squeezed into 800 wide. But there is no reason for the
    bits that do not need to be out of the picture to be out of the
    picture.

    Look at the search bar at top at 800px for browser and especially
    (perhaps paradoxically enough) at very small user text size. Look
    at all the room available to the left where it could happily go.
    One needs to pause before holding the page up as an example of
    good design.

    But I admit, it is not all that bad!

    --
    dorayme
     
    dorayme, Jan 21, 2008
    #11
  12. Synapse Syndrome

    Nik Coughlin Guest

    "Synapse Syndrome" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > "Nik Coughlin" <> wrote in message
    > news:fn33ic$589$...
    >>> Making that site with a liquid layout would bring a lot of formatting
    >>> problems to the people making the content. It'd just be a mess.

    >>
    >> Um, that's simply not true. This statement makes me think that you don't
    >> really understand the concept of liquid layouts. This site would be
    >> quite easy to make fluid. It wouldn't make any different whatsoever to
    >> the people generating the content.

    >
    > Like how would they keep everything in sections, without it fragmenting
    > too much? If it could easily be made liquid, why didn't they then? I
    > /think/ I understand the concept of liquid layouts. I don't think there
    > is much to understand, is there?


    http://nrkn.com/guardianFluid/

    I didn't bother hacking it to work in IE 6 so use a real browser to view -
    tested in IE 7, Firefox, Safari and Opera. Would work in IE 6 with another
    10 minutes work which I have no intention of doing.

    It's very rough and I've only bothered doing the two main content columns as
    this is all that is required to show that it can be made fluid. Everything
    else is low quality placeholder images.
     
    Nik Coughlin, Jan 22, 2008
    #12
  13. Synapse Syndrome wrote:
    > I would say that there is always a case for using absolute positioning on
    > webpages rather than liquid layouts. Absolute positioning is used on most
    > big websites.


    You start by saying that there is always a case for X, but then all you
    have to offer is "X is what most people do". I'm afraid your
    understanding of what it means to make a case for something needs work.
     
    Harlan Messinger, Jan 22, 2008
    #13
  14. Synapse Syndrome

    Ben C Guest

    On 2008-01-22, Nik Coughlin <> wrote:
    >
    > "Synapse Syndrome" <> wrote in message
    > news:...
    >> "Nik Coughlin" <> wrote in message
    >> news:fn33ic$589$...
    >>>> Making that site with a liquid layout would bring a lot of formatting
    >>>> problems to the people making the content. It'd just be a mess.
    >>>
    >>> Um, that's simply not true. This statement makes me think that you don't
    >>> really understand the concept of liquid layouts. This site would be
    >>> quite easy to make fluid. It wouldn't make any different whatsoever to
    >>> the people generating the content.

    >>
    >> Like how would they keep everything in sections, without it fragmenting
    >> too much? If it could easily be made liquid, why didn't they then? I
    >> /think/ I understand the concept of liquid layouts. I don't think there
    >> is much to understand, is there?

    >
    > http://nrkn.com/guardianFluid/
    >
    > I didn't bother hacking it to work in IE 6 so use a real browser to view -
    > tested in IE 7, Firefox, Safari and Opera. Would work in IE 6 with another
    > 10 minutes work which I have no intention of doing.
    >
    > It's very rough and I've only bothered doing the two main content columns as
    > this is all that is required to show that it can be made fluid. Everything
    > else is low quality placeholder images.


    Looks good. You have a min-width of 942px, where the original site sets
    a width of 940px and centres.

    So on a very wide monitor, I can fill the width with your version. But
    940px is already quite wide.

    How would you make the page work at much narrower than 940px?

    If you make the viewport 800px and look at either version, you notice
    that everything still looks neatly laid out, just with no jobs or
    dating. You lose an exact precisely-measured slice of gubbins.

    I'm sure that's deliberate. I see it quite a lot on the web. This is
    another trick to do the sort of thing salmobytes was discussing the
    other day-- the discretely fluid compromise.
     
    Ben C, Jan 22, 2008
    #14
  15. Synapse Syndrome

    Nik Coughlin Guest

    "Ben C" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > On 2008-01-22, Nik Coughlin <> wrote:
    >>
    >> "Synapse Syndrome" <> wrote in
    >> message
    >> news:...
    >>> "Nik Coughlin" <> wrote in message
    >>> news:fn33ic$589$...
    >>>>> Making that site with a liquid layout would bring a lot of formatting
    >>>>> problems to the people making the content. It'd just be a mess.
    >>>>
    >>>> Um, that's simply not true. This statement makes me think that you
    >>>> don't
    >>>> really understand the concept of liquid layouts. This site would be
    >>>> quite easy to make fluid. It wouldn't make any different whatsoever to
    >>>> the people generating the content.
    >>>
    >>> Like how would they keep everything in sections, without it fragmenting
    >>> too much? If it could easily be made liquid, why didn't they then? I
    >>> /think/ I understand the concept of liquid layouts. I don't think there
    >>> is much to understand, is there?

    >>
    >> http://nrkn.com/guardianFluid/
    >>
    >> I didn't bother hacking it to work in IE 6 so use a real browser to
    >> view -
    >> tested in IE 7, Firefox, Safari and Opera. Would work in IE 6 with
    >> another
    >> 10 minutes work which I have no intention of doing.
    >>
    >> It's very rough and I've only bothered doing the two main content columns
    >> as
    >> this is all that is required to show that it can be made fluid.
    >> Everything
    >> else is low quality placeholder images.

    >
    > Looks good. You have a min-width of 942px, where the original site sets
    > a width of 940px and centres.
    >
    > So on a very wide monitor, I can fill the width with your version. But
    > 940px is already quite wide.
    >
    > How would you make the page work at much narrower than 940px?


    Move the search box so it doesn't slide over/under the GuardianUnlimited
    logo. Or make it so that it dropped under it when they collide.

    Once you've done that then the minimum theoretical width is the width of the
    images in column 1 + the width of the images in column 2 + the widths of
    columns 3 and 4 which are fixed. That's if you don't want the columns
    dropping under each other (use floats), if you don't mind that then the
    minimum width is the largest image or fixed widht column you have on the
    page.

    > If you make the viewport 800px and look at either version, you notice
    > that everything still looks neatly laid out, just with no jobs or
    > dating. You lose an exact precisely-measured slice of gubbins.
    >
    > I'm sure that's deliberate. I see it quite a lot on the web. This is
    > another trick to do the sort of thing salmobytes was discussing the
    > other day-- the discretely fluid compromise.


    Yeah, it's all a compromise. But man those tiny little fixed width sites
    look silly on my giant monitor.
     
    Nik Coughlin, Jan 22, 2008
    #15
  16. On Jan 21, 1:36 pm, "Synapse Syndrome"
    <> wrote:
    > I would say that there is always a case for using absolute positioning on
    > webpages rather than liquid layouts. Absolute positioning is used on most
    > big websites.


    Anyone that says "one size fits all" on the web is a fool. Fluid
    design is great for some site, fluid design is dumb for others.
     
    Travis Newbury, Jan 22, 2008
    #16
  17. On Jan 21, 5:20 pm, "Synapse Syndrome"
    <> wrote:
    > Like how would they keep everything in sections, without it fragmenting too
    > much?


    Sometimes the fluid crowd's view is like that old joke "Dr, it hurts
    when I do this... "Don't do that"
     
    Travis Newbury, Jan 22, 2008
    #17
  18. Scripsit Travis Newbury:

    > Anyone that says "one size fits all" on the web is a fool. Fluid
    > design is great for some site, fluid design is dumb for others.


    You can't make up your mind, can you? Or maybe you just don't understand
    "fluid design". In a nutshell, it's an approach that says that one size
    does not fit all. Try googling for "fluid design".

    --
    Jukka K. Korpela ("Yucca")
    http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/
     
    Jukka K. Korpela, Jan 22, 2008
    #18
  19. On Jan 22, 7:16 am, "Jukka K. Korpela" <> wrote:
    > You can't make up your mind, can you? Or maybe you just don't understand
    > "fluid design". In a nutshell, it's an approach that says that one size
    > does not fit all. Try googling for "fluid design".


    No I completely understand fluid design, I just do not believe that it
    is the way that ALL websites need to be created. I believe each site
    is unique in the way that the content needs to be presented to obtain
    the best results for the client. In some cased this is fluid, in
    others it is fixed width, and in still others it is all Flash.

    I try not to have a preconceived idea of what is best for a client
    until after I find what they need and who their customers are.

    I guess we disagree.
     
    Travis Newbury, Jan 22, 2008
    #19
  20. Synapse Syndrome

    Chaddy2222 Guest

    On Jan 23, 3:13 am, Travis Newbury <> wrote:
    > On Jan 22, 7:16 am, "Jukka K. Korpela" <> wrote:
    >
    > > You can't make up your mind, can you? Or maybe you just don't understand
    > > "fluid design". In a nutshell, it's an approach that says that one size
    > > does not fit all. Try googling for "fluid design".

    >
    > No I completely understand fluid design, I just do not believe that it
    > is the way that ALL websites need to be created.  I believe each site
    > is unique in the way that the content needs to be presented to obtain
    > the best results for the client.  In some cased this is fluid, in
    > others it is fixed width, and in still others it is all Flash.
    >
    > I try not to have a preconceived  idea of what is best for a client
    > until after I find what they need and who their customers are.
    >
    > I guess we disagree.

    It really does depend on who the client is. As an example most of the
    sites I design are information based sites.
    But for entertainment based sites a more graphical based design works
    better.
    --
    Regards Chad. http://freewebdesignonline.org
     
    Chaddy2222, Jan 23, 2008
    #20
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