I made a few changes to the layout over the weekend. The logo has changed and is now dynamic, I've reduced the padding between some of the elements, and, most significantly, I've fixed the width of the body.
Non-nerds may not care about this, but whether web pages should have a fixed width so they look the same on all machines or a flexible width so that they can take full advantage of large monitors is one of these debates that web designers discuss endlessly. I've always been in the flexible width camp, but of late I've begun to move into the fixed width camp.
For me, the big advantage of fixed width isn't the design consistency, it is the readability. When text flows over 1000 pixels before wrapping, it becomes very difficult to not lose your place. Think about newspapers for a minute: if they printed copy all the way across the page rather than in columns it would be much more difficult to read. A consensus is emerging that as the web is becoming more and more of a reader's medium, designers should do whatever they can to improve readability. So with that, I'm sold on fixed width.
The screen resolution stats on people who visit this site are interesting:
The vast majority of us have large, high resolution monitors now. So with that I'm making sure 1024x768 is well supported. I may add perks for folks with even larger monitors, like a rail to the right of the content that could include links to favorite stories or something. We'll see.
Any issues with the new layout, please let me know.