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Screen resolution - I need advice from web designers/ developers

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Thereisnosquare
339 posts
Message posted at 06/28/2006, 07:56:46 AM by Thereisnosquare
I am in the middle of developing a website and have been having discussions with my designer about whether to design for 800x600 or 1024x768. We don't want to use a liquid layout.



The audience for the website will be mid range users in terms of their degree of comfort with computers and technology. I would imagine it would be viewed by people both at work and at home.



I still think we need to design for 800x600 - various stats say 10-20% of people still use 800x600. That is high to me.



I'd be interested to know what other designers are doing now with their web designs in relation to screen resolution and why. Thanks in advance!



Canon EOS 300D, some filters, Photoshop

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Imagodigipix
799 posts
Message posted at 06/28/2006, 08:08:13 AM by Imagodigipix
I am not a web designer but certainly I am a hard web surfer. The 17 inch screen and 1024x768 screen pixel size are very common. The 14, 15, 16 inch are gone, hopefully for good. It is not pleasent at all to find a web site that fits only 50% of your screen width. I definitely recommend the 1024x768. Wish you the best,

Christian
Happy Rebel 17-85mm & 50mm1.8 since the 17th of April 2006. ...

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Stuartkey
1282 posts
80
Message posted at 06/28/2006, 09:01:37 AM by Stuartkey
Depends on whether you are taking into account the size of the browser button bar, whether the users have the window maximised or not, etc, etc.



I still design to 800x600, purely because many people on 19 inch monitors use 1024x768 as their resolution, but they may not have the browser window taking up the full monitor area, AND they may have chosen to use large icons in the button bar, they may have extra toolbars (Google, MSN, etc.) so my feeling is that if you are using a non-liquid layout, then 800x600 is the safe bet.







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Striver
195 posts
Message posted at 06/28/2006, 09:42:53 AM by Striver

Originally posted by Thereisnosquare:
Quoted Message: still think we need to design for 800x600 - various stats say 10-20% of people still use 800x600. That is high to me.




It is really good to hear a web designer talking sense. While it may be mildly annoying for some of those with large screens to encounter narrow pages, it is a major problem when people with small screens encounter pages too wide to view without scrolling sideways. It would be downright foolhardy to blatantly alienate 10 to 20 percent of your customer base. In this age of tight competition, that is literally financial suicide.



But there are other factors to consider as well. As Stuart pointed out, Who says even those with large screens want to use the entire screen for your web pages. I keep my resolution at 1152x864, but I get annoyed when I encounter pages that are over 700 wide because I am always multitasking when I surf, often visiting two or three sites simultaneously with several folders open as well with links to my favorite sites. When I do occasionally encounter a picture that requires my full screen I just hit F11 to expand the browser window temporarily.



Here is a shot of a portion of my screen as I am writing this. What part of my work surface do you want me to give up to view your wider web page?...



 Freezing winter 



In fact most browsers have the option of opening side bars within the browser window, further restricting the area available for your pages. Other people keep task bars or other desktop controls as a sidebar instead of the standard bottom strip. This is why many top sites still restrict page width.



Another factor to consider is that there are many laptops and even cell phones now surfing the web. I learned a big lesson years ago when I first started building web sites. Like many beginners, I had all the flash-bang graphics I could pack onto the page. I gave the URL to a CEO acquaintance. He told me later that he couldn't navigate my site. You see...he was a busy man so he surfed on a laptop with all graphics and scripting turned off to save time. When you talk to someone like that, you get right to the point with no BS and it is the same when you build web sites aimed at such people.



I personally surf safely with all active X shut down and java restricted to only select, trusted sites...as anyone with half a brain will do today. If your main menu is all flash...too bad...you have competition that has more sense and I can see their sites. So yeah...I agree with you. Don't reduce your customer base right out of the gate. Stick with the most widely acceptable format.
Canon - Mac Pro

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Leachie
1 posts
Message edited at 06/28/2006, 10:36:19 AM by Leachie
If you are to design a page, i would still recommend the 800x600 screenres. design.



ofcause you can also choose to work with percentage design so that your design always stays 90 percentage of the users screen resolution.



i recommend these sites for inspiration.



http://www.alistapart.com

http://www.csszengarden.com/

http://meyerweb.com/

http://websitetips.com/css/



Good programming



Sonny Leach

Multimediedesigner


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Maigi
2665 posts
85
Message edited at 06/28/2006, 10:50:50 AM by Maigi
Hi, June.

Either the way you go, there will be people, who won't be happy with your choice. Sad, but tried and realistic statement. That's why I always try to write the most dynamic environment I could ever imagine, but then, I'm not always happy with results. ;) So hard to please everyone... But a very good example of dynamic page is DT! (Are you reading this, ingenious programmers? :)) Anyway, it looks extremely nice on my 800x600 laptop screen as well as on my 1280x1024 desktop screen. That's great. But, June, I totally understand, that it depends on nature of the page, how flexible you could make it. Sometimes the more fixed looks way better and beautiful. I was surfing in the net with your question in mind, and I noticed that many major pages (newspapers, stores, educational and business pages) are built up with 800x600 screen in mind. And just like Striver said, me too, I don't mind to see smaller frames in my maximized browser, but I hate it, when I have to scroll the ruler all the way to read the whole text on my sweet little laptop screen.

So, I'll stick with Stuartkey's and Striver's and other's suggestion 800x600.

But in the end it's still a matter of taste.



Anyway, here's a great page I occasionally like to visit: www.webpagesthatsuck.com :)



BTW about your web page: please tell me, how many phrases you could form with those tiny little 15 letters? :) I failed in counting.



Good luck to you!
Canon 550D, Tamron AF 18-270mm, Canon 50mm, Wacom Intuos4 M,...

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Striver
195 posts
Message posted at 06/28/2006, 13:00:35 PM by Striver

Originally posted by Maigi:
Quoted Message: But a very good example of dynamic page is DT! (Are you reading this, ingenious programmers? :))




I agree 100% on that one. Dreamstime has the best designed stock photo web site on the net. Period. It is clean and simple with no gratuitous scripting. Every time I have tried to do something here I have found the exact pages and controls I need to do it exactly where I expected to find them. That is one of the primary reasons I have been putting my energies here instead of other stock sites.



But I disagree that much of this is a matter of opinion. There has been extensive research into human interaction with business form and graphic design since long before the internet was conceived and some things have been established as fact over and over both online and off. For example, the human eye starts losing track when column width is over 12 to 13 words average. The viewer seldom understands what is happening, they simply find the writing difficult to follow, get bored with it, and move on, often while adamantly insisting that they prefer the wider page format. This is why newspaper columns are so narrow. It keeps your attention better even when the writing isn't that great. So it is a very bad idea to let your text width "float" to whatever width the viewer's browser allows. This is why most of the top sites have returned to fixed width.



I know that floating width is still fairly popular in some circles, like the program that runs this forum. But that is mostly the blind leading the blind. Not many web designers have any real knowledge of the research into human interaction with such designs, they just follow what is currently popular.



Lee
Canon - Mac Pro

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Maigi
2665 posts
85
Message edited at 06/28/2006, 15:10:07 PM by Maigi
Thanks Lee, you had a good point. I usually narrow my browser window to understand the text better. But this is more like automatic, subliminal gesture, I don't even notice it. Did you say 12 to 13 words? It's really not much.

Very interesting.
Canon 550D, Tamron AF 18-270mm, Canon 50mm, Wacom Intuos4 M,...

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Thereisnosquare
339 posts
Message posted at 06/28/2006, 23:19:00 PM by Thereisnosquare
Thanks everyone for your replies. My gut feel at this stage is to stick with 800x600. If it was less than 5% of users using an 800x600 screen, I'd probably jump to 1024x768.



But I also didn't realise how many users don't use their entire screen width (since I always fully maximise everything). So thanks for that insight.



Maigi, I can't remember how many phrases I made out of those 15 letters - it was so long ago when I did that. Might be time for an update and to create some new phrases, haha.



The 12-13 word average is interesting and something I'll definitely keep in mind especially after trying to read a not-to-be-named website's terms and conditions. It seems lots of websites like to make their legal documents as hard to read as possible - no line break for 40 lines at least! I gave up and increased the text size in my browser. Maybe if we're over the 12-13 word average, we can advise users to increase text size until it meets that average (joke).
Canon EOS 300D, some filters, Photoshop

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Maigi
2665 posts
85
Message posted at 06/28/2006, 23:54:43 PM by Maigi

Originally posted by Thereisnosquare:
Quoted Message: Maigi, I can't remember how many phrases I made out of those 15 letters - it was so long ago when I did that. Might be time for an update and to create some new phrases, haha.


:)) It was so funny and clever. I really enjoyed it.

Ok, I'm waiting for more... ;)
Canon 550D, Tamron AF 18-270mm, Canon 50mm, Wacom Intuos4 M,...

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Fleyeing
935 posts
66
Message posted at 06/30/2006, 18:18:42 PM by Fleyeing

Originally posted by Thereisnosquare:
Quoted Message: My gut feel at this stage is to stick with 800x600.




If you manage several websites (as I do), it's easy to put a screen size statistic in your logs php. You might find out that not too many browsers are beyond 1024. Given the sidebars and stuff, imho it's best to stick to 800. If the sole purpose is to view and judge a photo, 1024 will not do much more, unless provide the browser with a usable image for free.
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Fotoeye75
521 posts
79
Message posted at 07/01/2006, 01:26:32 AM by Fotoeye75
I gotta a question to add to this one .. I'm finishing up my portrait photography website to get online and wondering how many people out there still dont have flash installed. In all honesty .. I dont want to go with the do you wanna go to the HTML or Flash version splash page. I'd much rather just stick with the flash only .. actually its a HTML/flash combo but anyway you get the idea.



Randy
Nikon FX Bodies & Lenses -- Mac -- CP1 & LR -- Dr. Pepper --...

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Thereisnosquare
339 posts
Message posted at 07/01/2006, 02:18:52 AM by Thereisnosquare
Hey Randy,



The question is really about who your audience is. Are you expecting them to be pretty savvy computer users who love graphics and animations and watching movies online?



Or are your intended clients commercial or mums and dads?



Macromedia says Flash content reaches 97.7% of internet users but Macromedia WOULD say that. I've worked in a LOT of places where I've tried to load a page with Flash content and I've had to download the plugin myself (I find that extraordinary!) as it was not part of the standard operating environment



I guess my general viewpoint is that one should accommodate the lowest common denominator with an HTML version just in case... there might be many reasons why someone prefers an HTML version apart from not having Flash installed ie. slow or dialup connection, in a hurry, dislike of Flash in general (I know various people who complain about Flash websites and they are people working in high-level corporate environments). Not to mention that I don't think Google yet indexes Flash sites as effectively as text-based sites - gotta keep those search engines happy! I don't know how much of a mix your HTML/ FLash combo is so maybe this is not such a big deal...



I know that's probably not what you wanted to hear... I didn't want to design for 800x600 either...
Canon EOS 300D, some filters, Photoshop

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Fotoeye75
521 posts
79
Message posted at 07/01/2006, 03:10:11 AM by Fotoeye75
yeah I dont like hearing about having to compromise over people being behind the times .. especially when we are talking about close to a decade behind LOL .. the flash portion is mainly for the display of the portfolios so it's pretty basic and fast on dial-up and the indexing doesnt bother me because traditional advertising is more important to me for reaching my clients in this area .. which are the basic everyday weddings/portraits/seniors/etc. .. there are basically 3 main competitors one 20 miles to the west whose site is all flash .. another 30 miles east who is all HTML .. the third is actually the most established and doesnt even have a website .. go figure.
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Striver
195 posts
Message posted at 07/01/2006, 09:59:21 AM by Striver

Originally posted by Fotoeye75:
Quoted Message: yeah I dont like hearing about having to compromise over people being behind the times .. especially when we are talking about close to a decade behind LOL .. the flash portion is mainly for the display of the portfolios so it's pretty basic and fast on dial-up and the indexing doesnt bother me because traditional advertising is more important to me for reaching my clients in this area .. which are the basic everyday weddings/portraits/seniors/etc. .. there are basically 3 main competitors one 20 miles to the west whose site is all flash .. another 30 miles east who is all HTML .. the third is actually the most established and doesnt even have a website .. go figure.




I know this is not what you want to hear, you clearly like the idea of flash and consider anyone who doesn't have it "behind the times" but you are 180 degrees wrong on that one. People who use flash are the ones behind the times. Take a good hard look at some of the discussions of such action programming on insider sites like Slashdot. Sure, you will find the same cheering section there but you will also find, if you pay attention, a growing number of very tech savvy professionals strongly advising against any flash use. This is mostly because of serious security problems with Flash itself that have gone unresolved for years and probably never will be resolved. In one recent case, just last week in fact, a flash banner ad on livejournal installed malware on visitor's computers.



Even by the statistics cited here of 79 percent market saturation, that means you are rejecting 20 percent of your customer base right off the top. As I said before, that is financial suicide. I instantly reject working with any website that requires flash and so do many others. The local library system recently installed a flash based catalog search interface on their web site. I went and had a chat with the head of the library system and they fired their IT manager over it.



If you absolutely can't live without flash, do yourself and your visitors a big favor and check to see if their browser accepts it BEFORE trying to feed it to them. All IE browsers with active X turned off (as both homeland security and Microsoft themselves advise) give a very annoying pop up dialog on every page containing flash, advising that this site cannot be viewed at your current security settings. That means that every page of your site is going to annoy the hell out of anyone who actually knows what they are doing. That is one hell of a price to pay in customer loss for a few fancy gadgets.



Lee
Canon - Mac Pro

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Fotoeye75
521 posts
79
Message posted at 07/01/2006, 12:40:38 PM by Fotoeye75
Im not set on flash . It would just be easier since I know how to work with it. But I really dont care what is used as long as the result is accomplished in the end. The effect Im looking for is similiar in function to the flash that you see right here at dreamstime everytime you come to log on where it displays all the images .. Im not doing it in this style but its the same concept of simply moving from one image to the next in order to protect the layout of the page. How does the dreamstime homepage react to a non-flash system anyway? .. does it simply not load it or does it prompt for a download of flash? Anyone here not have flash installed on their comps? I'd be curious to know if the homepage loads an static image instead or what it does? I'd be interested in checking into alternatives to achieving the effect needed that was non-flash .. no need for a full how-to just throw out a couple keywords and Im sure I'll figure it out.



Yeah I had read that about live journal a couple months ago. I personaly didnt think much of it but I also find most news to be non-news worthy. Because would this be a "real" concern security wise or more like the sticker on the window at the McDonalds Drive through that reads .. warning hot beverages are hot !! .. merely something they typed up to cover themselves in some way over increased paranoia that seems to be typical in the world today or because they have to comment to the media on every little thing that happens. I would think that if microsoft was serious about that announcement 2 months ago they wouldnt have flash elements still active on the homepages of both the microsoft and msn sites .. as well as flash elements scattered everywhere within. My first impression on the subject is that its the "we need something to fear" syndrome .. perl use to be scary .. java was scary .. asp was going to devour my computer .. the 2K glitch was going to destroy the entire world .. and I suppose we could keep going back to the olden days when computers were going to start nuclear wars all by themselves .. and yes people honestly believed that. Silly I know .. but paranoia has always been there and seldom does it contain common sense. It cracks me up :)

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Webking
362 posts
Message edited at 07/04/2006, 21:54:26 PM by Webking
800 X 600 is still used quit often but 1024 X 768 is now the most used monitor resolution. I still prefer 800 X 600, but its more of a preference than a standard.



It also depends on your target audience, the way the site is designed, etc.



Today design is scalable and dynamic so a site can be resized dynamiclyif setup to do so.



Here is an interesting article on web design.



Monitor Resolution



Web Content for High Resolution Displays

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Thereisnosquare
339 posts
Message posted at 07/05/2006, 05:42:36 AM by Thereisnosquare
Thanks for that Webking. Those articles are very useful.
Canon EOS 300D, some filters, Photoshop

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Ichtor
215 posts
<10
Message posted at 07/06/2006, 13:45:08 PM by Ichtor
Personally I design websites for use with 1024x768 res. Statistics show that this is what the majority of users have. Anyway, I always try to make them flexible so they can look good in other resolutions.
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Exiledphoto
51 posts
<10
Message edited at 07/08/2006, 00:21:10 AM by Exiledphoto
I'm thinking that a larger percent (Maybe even 80%+) of the users that use 800x600 resolution, are using public computers, at a school, or library, or at the office, and so they cannot change the resolution. Each time I make a site, I have to take in to account, whether or not, I am targeting those people aswell or not, or maybe specifically.



Its a hard choice.
-Nikon D50

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