Portrait vs. Landscape Website Orientation: Which is the Best Choice?

This is a guest post by Celina Conner. If you would like to submit a guest article, please check out our guest post guidelines.


Apart from the navigation design, background theme and the like, did you know that your website’s design orientation also affects user experience?

Yes, that’s right. In this article, we will discuss how your site’s design orientation complements or negatively affects viewers’ behavior.

Portrait-vs-landscape website orientation

Landscape Orientation

Because there are limits to how “tall” websites call be, landscape orientation is preferred by some users. This is to make the text appear shorter when, in fact, it is composed with the same number of words. One disadvantage seen though is that users will be required to scroll horizontally. This is often seen as poor usability.

To resolve, some webmasters use the multi-column approach in presenting content of large-width pages. The format of the text in columns may not be consistent when viewed in different screen resolutions and sizes.

So others opt to just create pages that link the continuation of text from one page to another. This again may irritate users for they have to click the page numbers to finish reading the entire article.

Thus, you can only be sure to use the landscape mode when you present lots of videos in your page. Consider that HD videos scale better for the landscape orientation.

Portrait Orientation

The web preserves the traditional portrait ratio of published materials. So clearly, a better orientation design for websites heavy on text is portrait display.

Notice that there would be blank whitespaces in the left and right portions of the page, keeping only the content right on the middle. This is to take into account the fact that reading shorter lines of text (around 11 to 14 words wide) is friendlier to our eyes. The human eye can only go as far as that optimal width to read lines without losing track of the current one being read.

Longer lines are more difficult to read. So to break them down to smaller chunks, readability is improved by formatting the page into the portrait orientation.

Sure, there is the need to scroll to get to the bottom of the article. Still, vertical scrolling is found to be easier done than horizontal scrolling and then vertical scrolling altogether.

Less is Better

Apart from the clutter factor, design philosophy of Web 2.0 trends advise us to put less information on a single page. You may gain advantage when you optimize your website in either the portrait or landscape mode, whichever suits your content better.

Note that when you do, incorporate the fixed width layout. This is to ensure that usability will not be affected by the resolution of the monitor.


Celina Conner is a Yoga Instructor, a holder of a Diploma of business from Martin College Australia and a mother of a beautiful daughter, Krizia. She has a passion in cooking and formulating vegan recipes. Follow her adventures on Twitter.

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