Photo site design: fixed size or flexible?

Discussion in 'Photoshop Tutorials' started by photosonly, Nov 26, 2005.

  1. photosonly

    photosonly Guest

    When designing a site consisting mostly of images, should the site be
    fixed size or flexible? From my understanding, a flexible design allows
    text to wrap and position according to the browser window size and
    resolution. This works well with pages with lots of text and small
    images. But if a web page's main content is a large image, does flexible
    design make any sense?

    There is a large image and a few thumbnails on each of the following two
    pages. I think the first one is fixed size, and the second one is
    flexible. Which do you consider a better design in terms of fixed size
    or flexible?
    photosonly, Nov 26, 2005
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  2. photosonly

    Flo Nelson Guest

    I think the crucial question is the text rather than the images. Lines of
    text longer than 500 pixels are very hard to read and people tend to skip
    them, so you want to design a site so that this can't occur very easily (can
    be done with both fixed and flexible sites, but you need to consider a lot
    of different browser sizes). For a mostly photo site (without a lot of
    descriptive text), either fixed or flexible should work.

    I see problems with both the examples - the first one doesn't fit on the
    screen when the browser is sized at 800 by 600 (which a lot of people still
    have). The second one makes you scroll to see the pictures (at least at
    lower screen resolutions) - which means you don't really see the pictures.

    Flo Nelson, Nov 27, 2005
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  3. photosonly

    photosonly Guest

    How do you design a fixed size site so that it will not display long
    lines of text?

    I tend to agree with your comments about the two sites. I think the
    scrolling on the second site is a result of using frames, which I don't
    like. The first site not fitting into a 800x600 browser window is more
    difficult to deal with. But at least there is only one frame to scroll.
    With most monitors at 17" and bigger, not sure if designing for a
    800x600 window is still valid.

    Can you suggest a few photo sites that are well designed? I kind of like
    how these two sites keep the thumbnails and a single enlarged image on
    the same page.
    photosonly, Nov 28, 2005
  4. If you fit the whole page into a table with one cell, you can give this
    table a fixed width.
    Johan W. Elzenga, Nov 28, 2005
  5. photosonly

    Warren Sarle Guest

    Sure it does. Give the user a choice of image sizes.
    Warren Sarle, Nov 29, 2005
  6. photosonly

    Flo Nelson Guest

    You make the cell (if using tables) or the div (if using css) that contains
    the content text no larger than 500 px.
    I think the size you shoot for depends on your audience. I walk into offices
    all the time with 17 inch monitors set at 800 x 600. The last figures I saw
    were something like 40% (or perhaps more) still at that resolution. If you
    have a general audience, they're not going to be happy scrolling sideways.
    But, for example, I'm designing a site for a photographer right now and his
    main audience is art directors at major magazines. We're sizing it for 1152
    x 864.
    There are a lot of good sites out there. I agree with you about the
    thumbnails and the single large image. You're welcome to take a look at the
    first comp for the site I'm designing - The portfolio menu item will
    have a dropdown with the names of his various gallerys. The thumbnails are
    all the same now as this is just to get an idea of what we want to do, but
    of course they'll all be different photos in the final version - and we've
    decided to make them larger.

    As I said, this is for a large monitor resolution, but you could do
    something similar and just size it down for your audience.

    I think either of the 2 example sites could be tweaked to work with just
    minor adjustments.


    Flo Nelson, Nov 29, 2005
  7. photosonly

    David Ellis Guest

    I don't claim is a well-designed site, but
    initially it was flexible. A viewer could drag the browser
    window to any size and the image would re-size with it.

    There was lots of criticism about loss of image quality at
    various sizes and I was urged to change it to the fixed size
    it is today.

    David Ellis, Nov 30, 2005
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