We’re keen to receive your letters on a wide variety of topics, from campus life to political and social issues in the wider world. Please note that all letters will be published at the editor’s discretion, and may be edited for brevity. The letters policy is available online.
or post to: Reporter, room 12.72, Employee Communications, E C Stoner Building
Widescreen television has been with us for many years. The old 4:3 ratio is increasingly hard to find on new equipment. Even computer monitors – both desktop and laptop – are predominantly widescreen. Everywhere I look, displays are getting wider. Except on the University of Leeds website.
Even on my old 4:3 monitor, the University home page displays wide bars of unused space on each side whilst forcing me to scroll down to find what I want. Campusweb seems OK. The VLE is full width. It seems that once you’re in, you can use the full width of your monitor – but while you’re thinking of applying, 10% is shaved off the width and you have to scroll for your text.
Is there a reason for this ‘design feature’? Surely this cannot be regarded as attractive to prospective students!
Dr Patrick J R Harkin
School of Medicine
Reply: The corporate website is built using fixed width layout of 960 pixels which is fast becoming industry standard.* We did this so it can run comfortably at a number of different screen resolutions and across browsers /operating systems. At 1024 x 768 resolution, for instance – a set-up that our site traffic indicates is still popular – the left and right borders are very narrow.
If we were to use the full width of the screen we would have to adopt a fluid layout, and this would make placement and alignment of imagery extremely difficult and cause issues on different platforms. Also, as mobile computing use via smart phones and tablet devices such as the iPad, increases, by using a 960 pixel layout we future-proof the site for those users browsing on non-desktop machines.
* Websites including the BBC and the Guardian both use the same approach.