A hand holding a remote control

Note: this post in no way concerns the attempts to install a permanent lunar base by the United States, nor the military strategy in a desert environment.

Between the growth in the width of screens and that of mobile phones and other PDAs offering a web browser, we can bet that mastery of space will be the big problem in 2007, and probably the following one.

If the custom which wants us to develop in 720 pixels wide for a resolution of 800,600 is now tending to fade in favor of 950 pixels for 1,024,760, the games are not made for all that. Although very attractive, so-called “liquid” layouts – because they adapt and adapt their content to the width of the screen – ultimately pose more problems than they solve.

On the one hand, as those responsible for graphic design work in Photoshop, they are often unable to think of a space other than fixed, and the artistic value of liquid layouts often tends to be desired. Apart from the one from Wikio which I find quite successful, I don’t think I have ever seen any truly successful liquid layouts.

Then because, screens with a width greater than 19 inches becoming particularly affordable in our world of the rich – we find a 22 inch for 400 euros, nothing more to do with the 1500 euros minimum of my 19 inches bought 4 years ago. years and a half. Many screens now display resolutions greater than 1280 pixels, and a line greater than 800 pixels wide is particularly painful to read, especially along the length.

There is a workaround, however, which is semi-liquid layouts that scale to the screen size to a certain extent, making good use of min-widthand max-width, or JavaScript workarounds when these two properties are not supported by the browser. Again, this is a half-satisfactory solution on large media: you end up either with a very large empty space, or with lines that are too long.

There remains one solution: a fixed layout, but full screen.

My previous theme was intended to enhance the content by ridding the screen of any source of annoying visual pollution – the side menu, often a nest of advertisements – while seeking to occupy the space without forcing the reader to endure lines that are too long.

By using a colored header spanning the entire width of the screen and offering a centered navigation of fixed width, we manage to give the illusion of the full screen. The content of the sidebar passes at the bottom of the screen according to the same diagram. We thus manage to give the illusion of the full screen while offering the elements of the sidebar a more comfortable width than they would have had on the side. The display is done horizontally and no longer vertically, which allows all the elements to be embraced at a single glance and gives an impression of an organized “catch all” that the menu has often become. lateral today.

This last point lends itself to an interesting observation: by moving from a vertical arrangement to a horizontal arrangement, the content of what was once a tote in the side menu takes on a much greater importance, and we are tempted to reduce it to relevant information while ordering it better.

If I had been perfectly successful in getting rid of the sidebar , while still providing a well-placed avoidance link, I had not solved the problem of showing the content delivered to itself in a single column.

A first try at 720 pixels wide left too much room for side white on screens at 1024 * 768 and higher. A second attempt at 920 pixels wide – to adapt the content to the navigation and the bottom content – gave catastrophic reading results, even with a larger font than before.

The idea came to me while visiting Web Designs From Scratch the other night, in search of an acceptable solution: to put back a side menu giving access only to the content, and to itself, that is to say to the different categories of the site, to occupy part of the space (28% in fact), and to use a comfortable typeface for the rest of the content.

At the same time, a reflection came back to me that I had some time ago about the purely vertical arrangement of blogs: since I was reclaiming horizontal space, I also had to reclaim vertical space. For example, by no longer displaying the long litany of the last 10 posts on the screen, but only the last one, and the summary of the previous ones in the lower space which has become a source of full-fledged content.

There you go, it gives me a new theme that is cleaner, more readable, certainly perfectible, and it will be perfected, but the arrangement and the highlighting of the elements are there. History to start 2007 on the right foot (besides if there is a nice graphic designer to give me a hand on 2-3 things, I am completely interested, my artistic sense being close to zero).