Edinburgh Web Development

Changing website page width

by Iain Wilson

10 November 2011

If your website is a few years old, it might be starting to look a little narrow on the latest laptop and monitors. Is it an easy task for your developer to make it wider?

The answer is that it very much depends on the site design. If it is a very simple design, say with a single column of 760 pixels (to fit an old 800x600 monitor), then it would probably be a very simple change to increase the width of the column to say 990 pixels.

The trouble is that most decent contemporary design will very unlikely have a single column width for the pages. It is much more likely to have several columns and containers. These have been planned out in the design to be a certain width and to contain certain elements. Changing the width of these columns and containers may not be a big task, if the site has been properly developed using CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) which define the presentation of the pages.

What does start to take time is if the design incorporates graphic elements such as images and pictures. For example, if your design has a rounded box with a drop shadow and a picture at the top of the box, these are all fixed size graphics that have been created with a graphics editor. Changing the width of these elements will require the graphics to be re-done and pictures to be enlarged (assuming large versions exist).

Assuming that graphics can be re-done, you must consider what the design will look like now that it has been stretched wider. Will it still look as you wanted? A short width design may look odd once it has been widened.

So widening a web page may not be quite as straightforward as it may first seem.

It might be time for a new design.

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