It’s over, it’s done. Those of you holding on should wave the white flag as two of the best flexible width sites, Doug Bowman and Dan Cederholm, have thrown in the towel and gone fixed-width without even an entry of explanation, I suppose because the benefits of fixed-width are so obvious no explanation is necessary.
The assault is coming from all sides:
Dear Mr Antonioni:
I recently screened your classic film, The Red Desert, starring Monica Vitti and Richard Harris. I have a problem with the way you used screen space. My theater’s screen is big and wide. It is capable of handling many actors at the same time. For instance, crowd scenes and battle scenes work well. But in your movie there are only a few actors — and many times they are pictured in one corner of the screen or another, against a stark minimalist background. This is a terrible waste of screen space. For instance, there is one scene where Ms Vitti is filmed on the left side of the screen and there is a white forest behind her. The white forest is not much to look at. Sure, I can look to the left and watch Ms Vitti’s performance, but what do I see when I squint my eyes and look only at the right side of the screen? Not much! I urge you to add extra characters and situations to your movie so every inch of my screen bursts with action at all times.
Ouch. Now I think the film/web analogy is a bad one, and it breaks down with any sort of critical thought. Zeldman knows this but he’s trying to make a point.
Was it that long ago that flexible-width designs were all the rage? They came in with a bang, and left with a whimper. Is anyone still holding out? Are there any good flexible sites left? The only place I see it anymore in web applications (such as the WordPress administration interface) and in lightly designed e-commerce sites like Amazon.