I've been developing and designing websites for quite a while now, and I personally chose to make all websites fixed-width (about 990px or so), but in such a way that it won't look odd on higher resolutions. For instance, there are fixed-width websites that look horrible when viewed on a higher resolution. I tend to make it so the actual content will be centered and that there's something like a background image that fills up the "white gaps" on the left and right side of the centered content.
I have access to the Google Analytics statistics of a few websites, and the avarage screen resolutions seem to be as follows:
- 800 x 600: 5.06%
- 1024 x 768: 47.39%
- 1280 x 1024: 24.72%
I used to make fluid designs in the past, but the mayor drawback with those was that you could end up with a paragraph of text that's just 2 lines on some insane resolution (/me glares at NeoThermic
) instead of the usual 15 lines on a 1024x768 one. While this isn't really a problem, it still makes your layout look "empty" with lots of whitespace.
Once Internet Explorer finally supports the max-width style attribute without having to use too much workarounds and once that version is used by the avarage internet user, I'll most likely switch to fluid designs
and fixed-width content
With regard to text-browsers... who uses those? I know that they exist and are being used by a few people, but no way a client will be paying me for the time I spend on making their website compatible with text-only browsers. The work just doesn't pay off, in my opinion.
Designing websites will always be the trick of finding the right balance between usability and the nice look you want to give your product.