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Why Are Old Websites Not "full Width" Like Most Modern Ones?

Windows 2000 and Earlier (Windows 98, Windows ME, Windows 95)

Why Are Old Websites Not "full Width" Like Most Modern Ones?

Postby Artie » Sun Oct 15, 2017 8:52 pm

Is it really much harder to make full width wordpress themes and websites that are full screen width as opposed to 960px versions?

What is the main reason that websites weren't always the full width of the screen? Even with a homepage slider if it's full width they really emphasis that point as if it's much more difficult to make them?

Thanks just really curious.
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Why Are Old Websites Not "full Width" Like Most Modern Ones?

Postby Dene » Mon Oct 16, 2017 10:19 pm

It's only a guess, but my guess is that many old web sites were built when most monitors people were using were of the 4:3 form factor, and that the site builders were catering to what was most common.
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Why Are Old Websites Not "full Width" Like Most Modern Ones?

Postby Trystan » Wed Oct 18, 2017 12:59 pm

More an issue of cost than difficulty. Writing fully "liquid layouts" via pure CSS - styles that allow the pages to adapt to any screen resolution is tricky, since CSS doesn't work the same in every browser. Add the variety of actual, physical sizes of screen and the possibility that the user's browser window is not maximized, and the task gets even trickier.

While there are developers who are well-versed in CSS, there are many more who are just "okay" at it. Having the mediocre CSS mechanics try to accomplish the perfectly adaptive CSS is not worth the investment. EVen if you employ a CSS "savior" (a true guru), the next guy, who has to support the page, may be lost trying to maintain and evolve the uber-CSS written by his predecessor.

If the developer employs JavaScript to detect and manage the style differences, the task can be simplified somewhat. However, that approach is often not permitted, since some users have JavaScript disabled. Worse, some companies forbid developers to rely on JavaScript for managing styles.

So, developing perfectly adaptive layouts is more expensive and time-consuming than doing static width layouts. The solution has typically been to pick a size that seems most common and target for that. The last guess about the most common resolution, based on statistics collected by online services, was 1024 x 768. If you code width with 1024 pixels in mind, 960 pixels is about the most you can reliably expect to be within the frame of the browser's viewport when it's maximized. Heck, back in the early 2000's, 800 x 600 was the most common!

The fact that the width is not fully utilized does not prevent the page being useful and does ensure that the majority of visitors don't have to employ horizontal scroll bars to see all of the content (trust, me - users HATE horizontal scroll bars).

In short, expense and meeting average, expectations are the main factors.

NOTE: 1336 x 768 has just passed 1024 x 768 last year, but that hasn't really much impacted recent development...see http://gs.statcounter.com/#resolution-na...
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