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I'm working on an (older) website that has a fixed width. It's a large application, and the header, menu and footer are consistent throughout.

We've been tasked with re-writing a WYSIWYG editor, which is currently jammed into the fixed layout. We'd like to use media queries to restyle the editor based on the resolution, but then the page would no longer have the consistent header/footer.

The options I've come up with are:

  1. Live with the fixed width, and try and make it work.
  2. Have a link on the page where the editor is now to "launch" a new window with the editor in it.
  3. Replace the current page with the variable width layout, and add variable width versions of the header/menu/footer.

Any advice on the best way to transition the user from the look and feel of the site, to the look and feel of a tool without it jarring them?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

Option #3, the variable width layout, is clearly the best choice if you have the resources to do it. I wouldn't expect it to be very difficult but not knowing more about your site that's just a guess. In place editing without popups is always desirable although in some cases it can't be achieved.

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Makes sense. I'm not worried about difficulty, just whether or not the user would end up feeling lost. Thanks. –  Mike Nov 8 '12 at 0:34
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