W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-wai-gl@w3.org > April to June 2004

Re: question: fixed vs. liquid layout

From: Marco Trevisan <info@bazzmann.it>
Date: Tue, 15 Jun 2004 19:35:32 +0200
Message-ID: <40CF3364.6020509@bazzmann.it>
To: Gregg Vanderheiden <gv@trace.wisc.edu>
Cc: 'W3C WAI' <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>

Gregg Vanderheiden ha scritto:

Hi Gregg, Maurizio and WG,

> Thoughts? 

I can put my practical experience about it, so I hope it can be
useful for discussion... the Solution (with the big "S") is deeply
hard to find and apply. It depends on various things and application,
in my humble opinion.

Mainly, the ideal better solution is to offer a flexible website, so
user can increase/decrease text or window size, and get the better
solution for his needs. But we know that normal user often don't know
that text could be resized, or is not so skilled with windows, or simply
like better an all screen window.

I worked around different solutions, in different context and with
different users, so I make a fixed solution and a flexible solution.

I tried to pass from flexible:

To fixed:

In this case a large part of users found the new version more readable
and better usable than the old one.

Again, I tried to make some personal experiment like this:

So, design layout is in a flexible width, but text use a fixed one.
You can read it at 640x480, 800x600 and up. Just design change.

Users found it great, but it isn't a good layout for business
portal, e-commerce or e-banking, for example.

And, I worked on a e-banking project (tested also with a group
of blind and ipo users, compatible with various platform and


It can be easily viewed up to 150%, with 800x600 and have an
high contrast stylesheet.

But... there is some thing that can't make really flexible the
layout. In fact, when you use the service, you could use some
data table containing your bank position, cheque list and some
other important information for user. In this case, in this
project, it was impossible to grant a real flexible layout because
of data put a part of it out of the browser window, also with
high contrast stylesheet. And user have to h scroll.

Anyway, blind and ipo users found the service very usable and

So, we are continuing experiments with our projects and trying
to find the better solution with clients (you know, they need
to make business) and users (they need to easily use a service)
but I think that a possible killer solution could be a set of
stylesheets that user can switch (fixed, liquid, high contrast,
B/W, and so on). This make hard work for us, the developers,
because browsers (vocal ones like Jaws, too) are not so
compatible with W3C standards and so we need to use hacks to keep
compatibility at the top. In the same time, it offers to
clients websites that sell and let accessibility grow up
with business. :)

The real problem is about the budget, often.

Maybe, in level 3 it can be useful suggest to apply mainly a
flexible layout and grant fixed one (with a set of stylesheets),
or grant flexible with some part of layout fixed.

Just my two cents...

Marco Trevisan

Presidente | Bazzmann Advanced Labs S.r.l.
UI design, accessibilitÓ, usabilitÓ, standard W3C, comunicazione

info: info (a|t) bazzmann.it
www : http://www.bazzmann.it
tel :
fax :
Received on Tuesday, 15 June 2004 13:36:14 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.1 : Tuesday, 16 January 2018 15:33:49 UTC