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What are some advantages of left-aligning columns within the browser window?
UX design pattern for whitespace

I opened YouTube on Friday to see its new redesign. It seems it has been "left-aligned" rather than "centered" like its previous design. Which, at screen resolutions of 1024 and 1280 is fine...

1024 Width. enter image description here

1280 Width (work desktop, some whitespace) enter image description here

My home desktop, running on 1920x1080 is, however, another matter. enter image description here

Woah. That's a lot of unused screen real estate. Is there reasoning behing why site designers would do this or is there technical merit?

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marked as duplicate by Ben Brocka Dec 10 '12 at 13:04

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ux.stackexchange.com/questions/30197/… Similar question –  Igor-G Dec 10 '12 at 10:12
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The linked topic gives good reasons to explain the sense behind having things aligned left in the browser.

A few other things to consider:

Looking at your 1920x1080 screenshot there is a lot of white space. However, that is not neccesairly white space that could be used otherwise. Imagine the whole page being filled on your HD screen and the page would overflow with information, lose all hierachy and be hard to navigate. Most people with big screens sizes don't actually browse with equally big browser sizes. Most likely, users on spacious devices have a view that comes closer to your second screenshot, with an almost centered impression that just gets more firmely attached to the left side with solid navigation elements.

The other thing worth considering is the content that is shown. Considering youtube shows videos, it does not make sense to have a featured video at very high width (certainly not in the preview thumbnail) even though the user's device could show it, because that would increase the video's height in a way that all other content gets pushed beyond the fold. Limiting the thumbnails to a size that allows for a bunch of content on any page also means that the over all column size stays limited, unless you would fill the whole screen with thumbnails, and I already explain my though on why I don't think that is a good solution either. Thus you end up with a limited width layout.

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