When we rolled out the new TR a month ago, a vocal number of readers suggested that we widen the site's content area—either by making it entirely fluid or simply by making everything wider and forgetting about users of 1024x768 displays.
We're not big believers in fluid layouts, since they make it difficult to predict how a site will look on very large or very small displays. Additionally, we think limiting the amount of scanning our readers' eyes need to do helps readability. After all, practically every newspaper, magazine, or standard 8.5"x11" and A4 paper format out there has a narrow/tall aspect ratio.
Just making the site wider also wasn't an option. It's not only folks with decade-old 15" monitors who run at a resolution of 1024x768: many notebooks and ultraportable laptops out there are capped at that resolution, too. Making TR unreadable on a brand new Inspiron or $2,000 tablet PC wouldn't make much sense at all.
As a result, we've elected to use the same system we already had in place to let readers choose the site's color scheme. Clicking the new "arrows" button at the top right corner of the page will toggle between the standard layout and a new, wider layout designed with 1280-pixel-wide displays in mind. This new layout is largely a wider version of the standard one, but we've also tweaked the front page to better highlight top forum threads and discussions—another of the many requests we received.
In addition to the new layout for the main site, we've heard the cries of some of our forum readers and changed the forums back to their original, fluid design. Virtually all forums out there employ a fluid design, so this change should help new subscribers settle in. The new layout will also work better with our many picture threads.