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What Do You Think of The New Wide PFRE?

Published: 26/09/2009
By: larry

It's hard to miss the new wide (1280 pixel or 1024 pixel) format PFRE. Last week I hired Peter Spannagle ( blog customization consultant) of to help me fix the problem I was having with the real estate photographer directory. Along with fixing the directory and some long time widget problems Peter suggested that I make the blog wider since most everyone these days has screens 1024 pixels or wider.

I quickly said yes, to Peter's suggestion since I've been feeling that the blog width (900 pixels) was felt constrained for some time. After checking my google analytics and seeing that everyone uses wide screens these days, Peter quickly built me some new and improved CSS that checks your screen size and if your screen is big enough sets the blog width to 1280 pixels or if that's too wide it uses 1024 pixels.

Peter is great to work with and does a thorough job. I highly recommend Peter to anyone that needs blog design, customization or trouble shooting work.

Update Tue 9/29/2009: Based on many of the reader comments below, I've decided to have Peter work on a refinement to the 1280 px width. The refinement will be that the reader will have some control over how wide the center content column is. As you resize the browser window the center column will fluidly adjust, within some limits. This should handle the problem that some readers don't like the 1280 px width even though they have the screen real estate. Thanks to Rick Lamb's insight that this would improve the initial implementation.

33 comments on “What Do You Think of The New Wide PFRE?”

  1. Looks great! I think it's a reasonable size. Some sites sure seem even wider.

    Just a note, using FireFox 3.0 on Ubuntu/linux, I am seeing a problem with the layout. The right side links, photos and idol award list do not show up until I scroll past the left side links.

  2. very nice, I do agree with Julia, you have to now scroll sideways to see the right side banner

  3. Larry, I love the site, but...

    I have to scroll right to see everything too, and that's a pain. I'm more inclined to just ignore what's cut-off on the right, before I move on to my next site. That greatly diminishes the value of the right column, at least for you.

    Even though I do have a monitor that's wide enough for 1280 pix, like a lot of people l don't keep my browser window set that wide because 1.) long line breaks (wide pages) are harder to read, and 2.) virtually all of the other sites I read are designed to a narrower standard (partly for reason number one.)

    So my preference would be for a 1024 default standard. But otherwise, it's all good.


  4. Excellent. I work on 24" monitors at 1900x1200. It kills me when I design a website for someone that has the average user base as their primary traffic.

    But if you have a more tech-savvy audience, might as well go for the higher resolution as you've done.
    One of the reasons I enjoy the Boston Globe's "Big Picture".
    If anyone hasn't already, definitely check it out for photography and content.

  5. I'm at 1280x1024 and have to scroll right - which hides the left frame. However, there's nothing on the right so I guess it's not an issue.

    However, I have to resize the browser window to see the entire width (not including the empty right side). This can be done automatically in code.

  6. Looking sweet on my 24" iMac. I can understand the points others have made though. Is it possible to have the center column variable in size based on the apparent browser size?

  7. I'm using A 1280 X 854 display and I too have to scroll right. This is with Firefox 3.53 and Safari on Leopard 10.58.

    Maybe you should get a consultant that knows how to deal with non-Microsoft browsers?

  8. It's just barely usable. Any wider on the 1024 version and I'd really be upset about having to scroll sideways on my netbook (1024x600).

    I HATE the 1280 version though. I usually have two windows up side by side on my desktop monitor (1680x1050) and the new version means I either have to maximize the window, resize it which I have to then change later, or scroll left-right for every line. I'd stick with 1024, I'd rather read more lines than have to scroll or read very very long lines of text.

  9. Much better, comes up absolutely fine on Firefox on Viewsonic 22". The growing trend of netbooks is going to perhaps change the dynamic considering pre that everything was going larger and widescreen.
    Also just tried it on my Toshiba Notebook, running Firefox 3-5-3 like my desktop, and its fine too, at 1280 x 1024, and just tested at 1024 x 768, also looks perfectly good. Guess its just like our Prime Minister, John Key said on Letterman two nights ago, when reading out that nights Top 10. No 2 was "We drive on the left side of the road, like the British and Lindsay Lohan." Perhaps we look at screen real estate differently? 🙂

  10. Too wide on my 21 inch 1680 X 1050 desktop. Readable on my 17 inch 1680 X 1050 laptop.

    Re-sizing from every other site would be annoying. I would suggest that you refer to news sites where lots of reading is done as a model for typical sites where your readers will come FROM and set your width near that to avoid the re-size hassle. CNN, NY Times, Seattle Times,, LA Times, etc.

  11. OK...I started writing my reply this morning and finished it just now and after posting got the refresh and see that the width of the content portion has been reduced.

    FYI: The right column is still being forced below everything else.

  12. I've always feared going above 900 because many clients that have older computers and are not tech/net savvy still run 800x600. While over 90% (I checked analytics) have 1024 or larger screen rez that visit my site now, it's hard to argue against smaller than 1024 resolution for a micro percentage that may have to scroll to the right.

    Good call.

  13. I played with both settings :D.

    In firefox... never use IE... set at 1024 it did not resize to be usable. 1280 works without scrolling. I never used the widest of settings for my monitor... will live with it for awhile and see how it fits for me. Cheers

  14. Thanks everyone for all the great feedback. Especially thanks to those that pointed out that there's a problem with the right side-bar for Firefox and Safari on screens of res 1024 px. I'll ask Peter to fix that issue.

    There is clearly different preferences of width. I'm going to ask Peter if there's a practical way to allow the user to force to a narrower width for those that want a narrower view.

    @Todd- Actually I can't tell you exactly what it cost for just the screen width increase because Peter did a bunch of things for me on the site. It was probably around $200. Peter bills $100/hr. Best ask Peter for a quote for your particular situation.

    @Rick Lamb- Yes, great idea... I'm going to pursue a variable content area so people could adjust the size as they like.

  15. Not a stark raving fan. At 1280x1024 Firefox 3.5 XP SP 2 the background image that framed the old web site now interrupts the flow of the content. There's also a horizontal scroll bar shown but it only scrolls 20 (or so) pixels. However I do understand that screen real estate has always been at a premium online and viewers eyes are what pay the bills, so I can't really argue the point.

  16. Looks fine on my screens..... 19" 1440x900. I keep an little dedicated screen for Web browsing and other tasks that don't require a lot of screen area. Using Firefox here and it all fits beautifully.

  17. The site looks great here. I have been apprehensive about making my site larger for quite some time...but width does definitely create more opportunities to put content in front of the viewers face. Does anyone have statistics on average screen ratios? It seems that all of us photographers are using 1280 or wider.

  18. Ian- It's difficult to generalize about everyone's screen size. What you need to do is look at the Google analytics data from your specific site to see what size screens people that come to your site have. More technically oriented or photography oriented audiences will have larger screen sizes. For the PFRE blog the analytics data shows that 90% of the visitors have screen widths 1280 or more and 99% have screen widths of 1024 or more.

    However, has you can see from the comments above, some people don't like the wider size even though they have the screen real estate. That's why Peter, my WP guy is working a a solution to let the center content section be variable, within limits. This way the reader will have the some control over if it's wide or reallllly wide.

  19. The site looks great! I understand some of the frustration of users with smaller monitors but the days of 1024x768 are long gone. I wrestle with uping the size of my sites but I am always forced to go back to the lowest common demonstrator!

    Great work!

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