SharePoint 2013/Online Master Page Branding – Full Width vs Fixed Width

Many times we have been asked the pros and cons of two major Master page designs: Full Width and Fixed Width.
Here we will share our findings and knowledge of these two approaches.

 

Full Width
Pros:
  • Show more content by fully leveraging page real estate of high resolution screens.
  • SharePoint OOTB is full width.
  • One consistent look and feel across the whole site as content pages look consistent to system pages.

 

Cons:
  • Content layout easily varies based on different resolutions because our package is responsive, thus different user experience, even for desktop views. For example, on 1280px wide laptop screen may see content with a different layout compared to 1920px wide HD monitor screen.
  • Pages may seem busy as they are showing more content.
  • Users have to move mouse pointer further to reach what they want compared to fixed width style.
  • Page loading may be slower compared to fixed width style as the intent of using full width style is having more content on the pages.
  • Some features included in WebVine’s responsive package need to be modified as they were designed and developed to best suit fixed width style such as Personal Links, thus more efforts needed although they will be in a fallback style.
  • More page layouts needed to be created as in the package are fixed width style page layouts.

 

Fixed width
Pros:
  • Less text intensive, less overwhelming.
  • Easier for users to identify where to go as less content.
  • Consistent desktop view experience as the fixed width is less than 1280px.
  • Some features included in WebVine’s responsive package were designed and developed to best suit fixed width style such as Personal Links (WebVine’s module, floating on the left side of pages for users to easily create their personaly links and view system mandatory links. Part of WebVine’s Intranet as a package product – Injio®).
  • Page loading may be faster as less content.
  • Easier for users to reach what they want on the pages.

 

Cons:
  • Space left unused in desktop views.
  • Might not show list/document views and system views in the best way as they might get very wide.

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