Possible Duplicate:
Can SO have a fluid vs. fixed-width layout?
Are there any plans for SE sites to support variable width layout?

First off, I think the Stack Overflow family of sites is great. I use these sites a lot to find answers. Most of the time I find good content and fairly descent background information.

One thing that consistently frustrates me with the site though is the lack of width of content on the page. I run at 1920 x 1200, and the content of the page takes up only around 40% of the usable area, while 10% is taken up by 'similar questions', and 50% of it is blank whitespace on either side. This might sound minor, but when I'm trying to read someone's answer (specifically code blocks that don't auto-wrap), I get stuck with horizontal scrollbars. It is frustrating to know that the content could probably fit on the monitor, but it's been restricted down and now I need to scroll to see it all.

Also, I could see a lot of users that don't have their resolution set that high, but for programmers (one of the core target audiences), I think high resolutions are fairly common.

  • Some of us prefer to use our monitors in portrait mode. This would negate your need to scroll :)
    – walrii
    Commented Oct 10, 2012 at 1:09
  • No, the scrolling I'm talking about is horizontally. Being in portrait mode doesn't change that. Commented Oct 10, 2012 at 16:00

1 Answer 1


Horizontal scrolling is bad, but good design generally dictates that content not just blindly fill the window. See, e.g., this UX.SE post about ideal content width.

The same applies to source code -- excessively long lines are hard to read. If someone is posting code excerpts that cause significant horizontal scrolling, that's a formatting problem just like not indenting nested blocks. Generous readers will edit the question to make the code easier to read, others will simply devote their attention to questions with readily legible code.

In either case, the solution is not to have SO replicate the bad formatting decisions.

  • At the very least I think it would be nice to have codeblocks auto wrap. Commented Oct 10, 2012 at 16:03

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