Elastic is Welcome
Published January 31, 2006
Recently I mentioned that I didn’t care much for all the fixed width sites I was receiving from the Submit page. Emil Stenström followed up wondering if I accepted elastic sites. This got me thinking.
When I started Liquid Designs (this was before it was even hosted at the current domain) I didn’t know about elastic layouts. Suffice it to say that I wasn’t the CSS expert then that I am now, and with only a couple months of experience in CSS design, who could blame me? When I did find out about elastic layouts, my first impression was that they didn’t hold a candle to liquid ones.
Then I learned a few things about accessibility, max-width, and combining “em” and percentage widths, and I realized that elastic layouts had their place in the move towards accessible web design. I’m still partial to a liquid site over an elastic one, but I’ve realized that what really matters is using anything other than pixel dimensions. I’ve dubbed anything that doesn’t use pixels for widths as a “flexible” layout. Flexible layouts are the new cool.
Now I had a dilemma: would I promote elastic design the way I have liquid design? One option was to make another CSS gallery specifically for elastic designs, but this had too many pitfalls such that I knew to avoid it. Buying another domain name, setting up another WordPress install, designing another template, dealing with all the dirty comments, and generally just doing a lot more than one person should be allowed to do just wasn’t going to happen (again).
Another option was to recommend the idea for a new gallery to someone else, but I passed on that one too. After testing some various layout techniques with CSS, I realized there isn’t all that much different between liquid and elastic layouts, especially when the two get intertwined with max-width thrown into the mix, hence the term “flexible” layouts. Considering that many liquid sites are elastic and vice-versa, the final option was the obvious one:
Liquid Designs is now accepting elastic layouts.
This is the right thing to do. Alert the internets: come one, come all, elastic width promoters, and please send in your sites, especially the ones I rejected in the past. Keep them coming. I can only dream of the day when we will be arguing about what value to use for max-widths in ems, and pixel width websites will be a thing of the foolish past. Here’s looking forward to a successful year of Liquid Designs, now the source for all things related to accessible layout design.