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A question on Content-width and responsiveness in Wordpress.

Posted on 2014-11-06
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Last Modified: 2014-11-10
Hey. Having tried a lot of different themes for my wordpress site, I have been wondering about the "waste of screenspace" of many themes. Generally it seems like many of them puts the content as well as the sidebars in a narrow "frame" in the middle, leaving lots of space to the left and right. This is on the case on desktop and laptop monitors, but not on tablets and smartphones

My questions are:

1. Does the waste of space on computer-screens stem from the responsiveness to tablets and smartphones, i. is the waste of space on larger screens  a consequence of the themes ability to adapt to smaller.

2. Are there any other good reasons for the rather wide margins of most themes?

All the best, MH
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Question by:Lars Ploug
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by:Tom Beck
Tom Beck earned 250 total points
ID: 40426316
There are Wordpress themes out there that allow for full width content at any screen size. The Salient theme comes to mind. It allows for full width content OR limited width where all content appears in the center of the browser window at a fixed width. There can also be a mix of full width and centered.

It's a matter of both personal preference and the way people consume information. People are used to having information presented in column format; newspapers, novels, magazines. Imagine a full width web site on a very large screen. If there's a paragraph of text that wraps to ten lines on a tablet screen, it could easily stretch to the full width in a single line on a very large screen. This would be awkward to read based on the way people are accustomed to reading.

There are two approaches for building a full width web site with the best rendering on all screen sizes. 1.) Use full width for headers, footers and image centric areas of content (because they scale well) and a fixed width for textual areas of content that would not read well if stretched.  2.) Use a responsive theme that allows for multiple columns of content on wide screens but gracefully transitions to fewer columns or even a single columns as the screen size decreases.
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Jason C. Levine earned 250 total points
ID: 40426383
Tom is correct.  You don't see "full width" web sites on a regular basis because full-width can be 1980 pixels or more spread out over a 22" or larger monitor.  I use a 34" monitor at home (because I'm basically blind) and full width content boxes look horrible on it.

Add in browsing capability on game consoles and 60" or greater TV's and, well, you can predict the outcome.

Conversely, a lot of people are still running older machines at lower resolutions.  1024x768 is still a thing and you have to account for it.
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Author Comment

by:Lars Ploug
ID: 40433131
Thanks Tom and Jason,for your insights. I did find this online screen resolution test tool, which provided med with some practical illustration of your point:

http://quirktools.com/screenfly/


All the best, L
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LVL 70

Expert Comment

by:Jason C. Levine
ID: 40433190
http://quirktools.com/screenfly/

Bah.  That tool (while nifty) fails to see my responsive fixes and just shows the desktop site at the given resolutions.
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