28 Jun 09
06 Jun 10 6:18 am
I, too, had similar thoughts and here's what I'm doing. I'm still limiting my width to the 800px for the most part, but even if I did go a bit wider, I would simply either let any left/right sides be a little bigger or not include them in the 800px... In other words, the content is at least limited to 800px. As an example, to take advantage of the wider 1024px, I would take 800px for content (IE main/middle column) and 200px for any left/right columns. That would still leave about 24px, but that could easily be taken care of by centering the rest (in part to account for scrollbar and also in case someone had a wider screen resolution). Personally, I like the centering as opposed to left justified, because to me, it seems less cluttered and easier on the eyes. But you might test to see what works for you.
I'm on a WS laptop, and I have a few forums (not this one) that use the full width of the screen and it I do find it MUCH MORE DIFFICULT to read. I usually aim for around 10 to 15 words a line, personally. Why? Because most of the fiction we read is in that range, and smaller chunks are easier to read, especially if you know a thing or two about speed reading. Also, notice newspapers and many magazines are usually around 4 to 7 words per line. Makes for easy chunks for speed reading. On the other hand, textbooks, notorious for putting people to sleep, will often go anywhere from 15 to 25 words per line. Just because a page is wider doesn't necessarily mean you have to fill it all with information ;)
That's my take. If you want to take advantage of the wider screen, keep the content to 800px and use about 200px for any left/right margins,leaving the extra 24 alone for scrollbars and anything else that the page might need.
(BTW, if you notice, the content of the posts here in Affilorama fit right in that 10 to 15 words per line.)