I’ve been planning on revamping the Twenty Steps site for a while. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with Ainslies theme but I just fancy a change. The focus of the site has changed a wee bit from when I started so I feel it’s time for a new look.
I personally prefer using a fixed width theme. You have total control over the positioning of elements on your page. The increase in monitor sizes and, therefore, resolutions means that it is nigh on impossible to create a fluid width theme which will look good across the board.
Assuming that I’m going to run with a fixed width theme, what width should I use? Does size matter?
Without doubt the monitor resolution of your visitors is dependent on the content of your site. If you’re running a technical site, for example, the chances are that your readers are viewing your site on a larger monitor and, therefore, a higher screen res. If you’re running an entertainment blog, the reverse is probably true.
The graphics below prove the point. The first Analytics graph is for Twenty Steps, the second one is for a sports site and the final one is for an entertainment site.
A lot of fixed width themes for WordPress use a maximum width of 770px. Now this is all well and good for my entertainment site where 12.5% of the readers are viewing at 800×600 but why would I run with it for Twenty Steps where only 3.5% of readers view the site at less than 1024×768?
I think you need to understand your target audience before making the decision. If the majority of your readers are going to be tech savvy then design with 1024×768 in mind. If they’re going to be home users or occasional surfers then consider 800×600.
Considering the fact that some folks view Twenty Steps at a 2500×1600 screen res, I kinda figure that redesigning the site with 1024×768 in mind should be OK. Hopefully the new look Twenty Steps should be online in the next couple of days.