Doesn't always work that way
by john_mcdoogle - 9/16/06 9:40 AM
In Reply to: Fit page to screen by chgo29
When you design a web page, there are two ways to position objects on that page. There's absolute and relative positioning.
As you might guess, absolute positioning is where you give hard values to something. So a textbox is say 200 pixels wide and 100 pixels tall, no matter what resolution you're running. The appeal of this is that it makes it real easy to put objects on a page in a very specific place. The drawback is that anyone using a different resolution, particularly people using lower resolutions, will experience problems much like you do. And as you might have guessed, Cnet's page design uses absolute positioning which is targeted for a resolution of 1024x768.
If they used RELATIVE positioning, you probably wouldn't have so many problems, because objects would be placed on the page relative to the browser window size. So you'd say that a textbox would be say 10% of the browser window height, and maybe 15% of its width. No matter how small or large the window, the textbox will always have those proportions. The drawback to this design method is that it can take some more work to get things to look the way you want, though I consider the rewards to be well worth it.
I have a 20" LCD monitor with a native resolution of 1600x1200, and Cnet's pages look like absolute crap. I don't have horizontal scrolling, but I have these huge ugly yellow borders around everything. A good 2.5-3" on either side of that ugly dried mustard yellow color. There are also some Firefox specific bugs that could be fixed by using a few really simple CSS tricks, and adding about 1 line of code to the template used to generate all Cnet's pages.
It all boils down to you being at the mercy of the web designer, and very few are going to want to bother catering to someone using 800x600 I'm sorry to say. Most consider 1024x768 to be the minimum resolution worth designing for. Myself included for a website I was recently asked to design. While what I came up with does work fairly well even at 640x480, since I'm a big relative positioning fan, I have no intention of going out of my way to make sure it works at anything lower than 1024x768.
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