Centre Page in Browser

  Pesala 18:02 06 May 2004

My new version of NetObjects Fusion MX has the option to centre the page in the browser window. This is not the default. My pages are mostly 720 pixels wide. Is it generally a good policy to centre pages horizontally?

What about resize to browser window? I know how to do this, but it is just too much work at the moment. Would it be better for my text heavy pages?

What are your views/preferences? What is industry standard practice?

  Taran 18:35 06 May 2004

Many large commercial sites stick with the tried and tested default or left aligned page content. If you aren't going to go with a fluid layout which will resize at different resolutions then it makes sense to anchor your site in one form or another.

I rather like page content in the centre, but nothing works all the time for all content types.

In your case I'd say that a lot comes down to what you like. Why not let your own prefernce guide you.

At the end of the day there is no right or wrong method from a purely visual perspective. I like fluid layouts and mainly produce them for clients, but sometmies I get a design brief that insists on fixed width in which case I normally centre the page in the browser.

There are a ton of very successful sites out there that use left aligned, centre aligned and fluid layouts.

One of the pitfalls of presenting large bodies of text that I'm sure you've encountered is that it can really intimidate your visitors. Breaking up large bodies of text can become a real necessity otherwise your pages can seem barren, featureless and hard to cope with. It's always a fine line to tread.

Sorry if I'm not giving you a "do X, Y, Z because that's how it is". I don't think that the issue of whether your page content is left or centre in the browser is as important as how the content itself is presented. Good content in pleasant, friendly colours and fonts with crisp images and well thought out layouts and navigation looks good left or centre in a browser.

  Pesala 18:50 06 May 2004

Centre Aligned click here

Left Aligned click here

I generally use Opera at 130% so my pages fill my browser window anyway, but I guess that users with high resolution screens could find the left aligned pages a bit lopsided in Internet Explorer.

  Taran 18:53 06 May 2004

Your two example pages are both aligned the same as one another, at least they are on this PC.

  Pesala 19:14 06 May 2004

They different on this one - in both Opera and IE

  Taran 20:18 06 May 2004

I've checked your example pages in two browsers (IE and Firefox) on two computers and I get both of them sharing the same layout but different content.

Navigation links with your Yin Yang graphics are in exactly the same position on both pages as is body text content and text hyperlinks above it. This is at 800x600 and 1024x768 resolutions.

I haven't read through the source yet, but I can only assume that the fixed width table does not leave enough room to cope with shoving the content to one side or the centre and presents both as the same.

Perhaps the alignment feature may work better when applied to dynamic tables ?

Or perhaps two of my computers and their respective browsers are goosed ?

Or perhaps I should read your source to draw a more accurate conclusion.

Either way, I can only repeat that two PCs, each running XP Pro (fully patched), IE and Firefox, both render the example pages as the same layout with different actual content.

I'll try and tackle the source code in the morning when I don't have a thumping head. The thought of reading source at the moment makes me queasy.

Maybe someone else will venture an opinion in the meantime ?

Until tomorrow then.


  PurplePenny 00:20 07 May 2004

I don't see any difference in the alignment either. I've tried Opera 7.5 and Mozilla.


  Pesala 05:16 07 May 2004

click here

I opened each of my links above in a new page, and tiled them in Opera. As you can see, the bottom one is centre aligned while the top one is left aligned. What are other people doing to get anything different? They both look the same to me if I zoom to 130% because they fill the browser window, but not at 100%.

  Pesala 10:05 07 May 2004

I tested again in Internet Explorer. This time I have shown the centre-aligned page at the top. It doesn't make any sense at all that you and Taran get different results to me unless you have old pages cached. Since you only just visited the pages for the first time, that is not possible. I'm using Windows ME, not XP, but how could this be an OS related thing?

click here

I've tried with Opera identified as MSIE6.0 and as Opera. The Introduction to Meditation page comes out centred every time. The Introduction to Buddhism page is always left aligned.

Saurely meditation is all about 'centreing' oneself perhaps therein lies the answer.

seriously though I'm definitely a fan of centred sites, the middle of the screen is the best place to be looking as anyone with an old non-flat monitor will agree.

having said that, I think its important to delineate your edges to give structure to the layout (e.g. click here)although your formatting is very good and the layout has neat edges anyway.

So to answer the question, my vote is for center alignment.

  tomleady 10:44 07 May 2004

those links you gave both have center alignment and i'm using Avant Browser.

i like the centre alignment. but thats my personal preference on all sites.

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