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How long or wide is a web page?

A web page is known as "fluid" in size. It will be as long as and as wide as the contents it holds. It cannot be measured in a standard 8½ by 11 pages.

This effect is probably most noticed on sited created in a high resolution, and are visited by people using a lower resolusion. Sometimes the designer will enter a table at a fixed width (900 pixels for example). When a visitor using an 800 by 600 resolution enters that page, scrollbars will appear along the bottom of the window. This happened because the visiting browser is trying to accomodate the contents. It is a dynamic (fluid) decision on the browser.

Another example would be using a percentage value on a table area. Set the width of a table to 100%. What happens when different resolution visitors enter that page? Some contents will be shifted a bit and the table width will try to accomodate the visitors screen size. Fluid in motion.

Tables are not the only type of object to create such effects. They are just a prime example. Another quick example would be to place a large image on a web page. The browser will do its best to accomodate the size of the object in relation to the visitors resolution.

How long is too long before I should consider splitting my contents into different pages?

That is a tough question. It really depends on the site. Every individual person also has their own concept on what the site should look like. Some like long pages but provide page links to go further down and back up to the top. Some prefer to split up the page into multiple smaller ones and provide a good navigation between them.

As a personal idea, I would say... try to keep your individual pages less than 2 or 3 scrolls down. Start at the top of your page. Now scroll down until the screen shows all new content from what you saw at first (the last line visible is now at the top). Now do it once more. That is 3 scroll sections of web page. This would greatly differ depending on your resolution though. It's just a quick rule of thumb to think about. On an 800x600 setting, this page itself is about 2 scrolls.
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