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  • #2175127

    800×600 vs the rest


    by bloomed ·

    I have a client for whom I’ve developed a website using the long standard 800×600 “lowest common denominator” browser resolution for formatting the template. Because they internally all have higher browser resolutions they’re unanimously complaining that the site is too small, even though I’ve been into their conference room and showed them the site at various resolutions. They don’t “get” it, which is fine, except now they’re claiming that most machines are shipping at higher resolutions now and we should develop for more recent systems…no clue where they got this data.

    Question is, are they right? Is there any indication that it’s time to give up the 800×600 design criteria? If no, can anyone help me convince these folks not to make a mistake that could really irritate a great many of their potential online clients?


All Comments

  • Author
    • #3250647

      Can’t it scale?

      by gralfus ·

      In reply to 800×600 vs the rest

      It has been a while since I designed a page, but I seem to recall that you can specify percentages in certain elements so they will size to the page. So rather than specify X pixels, specify 10% or so on.

      I have done some where I specified on the page “Best viewed with 1024×768”

      • #3250638

        Yes of course

        by bloomed ·

        In reply to Can’t it scale?

        It can scale, but there were some design requirements from them initially that makes “scaling” a bit of a project in itself.

    • #3250646

      relative positioning

      by jdclyde ·

      In reply to 800×600 vs the rest

      instead of set sizes, use the percents so that it will change to the size of the screen.

      I do and will continue to design to 800×600 because I want EVERYONE to be able to give me money.

      Now, it depends who their customers are. It it is in a more high tech area then you may ASSUME (there is that word again) that people will have newer systems.

      I also know many people with newer systems that change the setting BACK to the 800×600 because they like everything bigger so they can see it better. Yes, they also have a 17″ monitor.

      • #3250190

        same here

        by jaqui ·

        In reply to relative positioning

        I know a lot of people that automatically reset the display to 800 by 600.
        even with 21″ and larger monitors.

        so it most definately is not a “dead” resolution.

        to me, it is always worth the effort to design for scaling the output.
        then every visitor will get a good appearance, and the customer will get better response from the visitors.

        I use 1024 x 768 myself, and I still often get screens with scrollbars for seeing the width.
        as soon as that happens I leave page, there is nothing important enough to me for me to have to scroll left / right to view it.

        • #3249746

          Sometimes worth left/right

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to same here

          If it is a prone pose that is embedded instead of just loading the jpg on it’s own.

          I have seen some WELL worth the scroll there, back and there again!

          The scale to fit just doesn’t do some justice….

        • #3232534

          Floating Design!!

          by editor ·

          In reply to same here

          Actually there are three possible ways to handle the problem. But firstly, I won’t buy the idea that since most people, or many people, or some of the people I know, still use 800×600 so I would stick to the good old design layouts. There are many other such design principles that seem to be pretty much outdated, like 150 pixels from the top, like visited links should be highlighted seperately, etc.
          1. Floating design: defining elements in percentage, by

          , position:absolute/relative. But then, this is possibly the BEST solution only in text-based sites, or where the image files are not essential components to define and demarcate content area, navigation bars etc. Buttons are not problems since we have the CSS-buttons now, much faster than the old javascript rollovers, and with CSS2 they are much more visually atractive.

          2. The second solution is coding a special div which is invisible in 800×600 (left offset 801 :)) that contains a

          tagged notice that I have designed the site for such and such resolution, and such and such browsers etc. and a request to the visitor to reset HIS machine to visit MY site. (IT’S ME YOU KNOW).

          3. The most logical solution is that IF you are not using vector images (flash website for example) then spend some time to write a javascript (and possibly a gateway page) to determine the resolution of the target monitor and load image files ACCORDINGLY. Combine this with a FLOATING DESIGN and we get something universal, well, almost.

          Is that too much work for a meticulous designer?

        • #3233098

          to muc work?

          by jaqui ·

          In reply to Floating Design!!

          option 3 is the best, in my opinion.
          though I would just use server variables that have the remote resolution to display to fit. ( since I use apache then apache’s global variables are available for this )
          no need to use a script to determine the resolution.

    • #3250642

      Identify the problem

      by tony hopkinson ·

      In reply to 800×600 vs the rest

      If I do it at a higher resolution the people still on lower resolutions will get scroll bars or worse windows bigger than their desktop.
      Then they make the decision, it’s their site.
      Yiou could also have them pay for the site automatically coping with some standard resolutions.

    • #3250155

      JavaScript window.innerWidth

      by oz_media ·

      In reply to 800×600 vs the rest

      as for the most common resolution, apparently 1024 X 768 is now up fom 48% to just over 54% so it IS the most popular by a very slim margin.
      Most notebooks and LCD screens set the MINIMUM res to 1024 X768 now, but there ARE those who still use 800×600.

      I STILL always optimize pages for 800X600 but always check it in 1024 too just to see how sparse it looks. Just a repeating border works well to take up space, but it is really split nowadays as many people have newer graphics cards, LCD monitors or notebooks that are running much higher resolutions than 1024 even. But until I see the 1024 number hit 60%+ I will always run at 800X600.

      As them this, do they not WANT half of the customers to have a non-scrolling window? They will stay longer. People with small browsers HATE scrolling, having it fit IN the window is no big deal. Perhaps your text sizing is a bit small. Try upping it a tad and see if it flies better with them without looking TOO BIG in 800 res.

    • #3250153

      JavaScript window.innerWidth

      by oz_media ·

      In reply to 800×600 vs the rest

      Have you tried window sizing?

      As for popularity, 1024 has increased from 48% to just iver 54% now. New laptops, LCD monitors and computers with fast graphics cards (the norm now) all run at a minimum of 1024 these days.

      I STILL optimize pages for 800 myself, but that’s gonna disappear soon I think.

      I would ask them about visitor retention. Someone who has to scroll a page will not stay very long, nearly half of the visitors you will get.

      Someone who has a browser that fits easily in a 1024 resolution will stay as they are used to pages optimized for 800, it’s still the norm for design.

      You MAY want to try adding a autosizing margin background color for your borders, that will help put some life in larger displays. You could also try upping your text size if it is too small in the larger resolution, yet make sure it is not HUGE BOLD PRINT in smaller browser windows.

    • #3251890

      there’s always a redirect

      by chicknapman ·

      In reply to 800×600 vs the rest

      i’ve used a browswer resolution-based redirect before. I usually add the javascript to the page and only redirect for 800×600 or lower resolutions. It’s a little annoying to make pages twice (standard and for low-resolution people), but it gets the job done.

      here’s one which looks easy to apply:

      hope it helps. peace.

    • #3251263

      I like the 800×600 size

      by tonythetiger ·

      In reply to 800×600 vs the rest

      because it lets me see my desktop icons around the edges of the IE window.

      I design for that resolution as well, because many of the users are on 15″ monitors(space/environmental reasons).

      • #3249717

        the numbers

        by mrwest12 ·

        In reply to I like the 800×600 size

        If you use the redirect and add a counter to the page then you would have numbers to support your or their desire for the development of their page. The only page you would have to redesign would be the first page. Then after a test period you would have hard numbers to present the customer. If it were left in place a changing trend for the 800×600 design could be tracked.

    • #3232527

      screen resolution is not the issue

      by roho ·

      In reply to 800×600 vs the rest

      I have seen this discussion many times before and I feel that it is the wrong discussion. The screen resolution is not the issue. Yes, you can get statistics on that, but you never know what the visitor’s browser window size is. I have big monitors with 1280×960 and 1024×768 but I never use that space fully. A web designer has no way of knowing which size fits best to the user.
      My approach is to choose for a flexible design and if that is absolutely not desired then fall back to 800×600. Using centering of the page (like TechRepublic) you don’t get a wasted space on the right. With some clever background image you can even break the dull areas up and make them part of the site.
      As smaller than 800×600 is growing smaller and smaller in use it is possible to ignore these.
      However do not forget the growing number of mobile browsers (smartphones and PDAs)!

      • #3233139

        This might help

        by zkent ·

        In reply to screen resolution is not the issue

      • #3233094

        aren’t mobile browsers

        by jaqui ·

        In reply to screen resolution is not the issue

        actually best with either a text or rss feed page rather than fancy graphics page?

        when I went online with a cell’s built in browser, it only showed plain text so the whole concept of page layout is lost with anything but basic text layout.

      • #3233091

        Size of Browser window…

        by wolfendbd ·

        In reply to screen resolution is not the issue

        How true!

        I have had a 21″ monitor for over a decade and it is set to a minimum of 1280×960 because I have WAY too many windows open at any given time. The brower (IE or FireFox) is set to a lesser size. I usually have the ability to 6 or 8 IE windows open with the ability to see the edge of each window. I HATE the tool bar and only use when I’ve ‘lost’ a window!!

        I HATE horizontal scroll bars and avoid like the plague, but have grown use to vertical bars, but would enjoy loosing those. I find these exist on site that sell ad space!


      • #3232973

        yeah . . .

        by apotheon ·

        In reply to screen resolution is not the issue

        Don’t forget about other factors, too, like the default OpenStep interface (which uses the right and left sides of the screen for stuff other than the application you have open, even if it’s maximized).

      • #3232874

        Does Size Matter?

        by tony ·

        In reply to screen resolution is not the issue

        I have to agree that its not the screen resolution thats the real issue. I also agree that most users with higher resolutions tend to not use the entire screen for thier browser.

        The best solution I’ve found to approaching this issue is to not think in terms of how much space you have to work with but rather how much space you NEED for various interface elements. When you break it down your typically looking at
        1) header
        2) menu
        3) footer (maybe)
        4) display area
        the first three are really “static” and I prefer they remain a consistent size no matter what size the users browser resizes to. For example, my header can change it’s width to fill the browser, but its height remains 75 pixels. The menu, fills the browser height (minus the headers height) but its width stays at 125 pixels. The footers just like the header only at the other end of the page.
        After those elements with static attributes are built, then the display area can adjust accordingly and if they need to scroll thier display content so be it, The interface stays consistent around it.


        • #3232867


          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Does Size Matter?

          It’s helpful to apply the same principle I do to program design: You’re not finished when there’s nothing left to add; you’re finished when there’s nothing left to take away.

    • #3233053

      Here are some numbers……

      by nottheusual1 ·

      In reply to 800×600 vs the rest

      A pretty comprehensive link for browser/OS/resolution stats:

      Also pretty believeable. We gathered stats for 6 customers over about a 3-month period. They had very divergent visitor populations.

      The “technorati” focused site was about 80% 1024×768. We contacted some of the users – they had higher screen res/sizes, but used the 1024×768 browser window size for practical reasons.

      Two sites were not user tech-level focused. Our numbers were pretty close to what the numbers at the provided link say. We haven’t seen ANY uptick in pda/c-phone browser traffic.

      We’ve quit designing specifically for 800×600 and use a different set of metrics derived from the customers input and goals for their Web presence to decide on what the customer will see. We don’t think resolution is as driving a factor as it once was, just another part.

      BTW – went through the same thing with customer #5 – a bunch of engineers with large displays couldn’t understand that their target market wasn’t like their office. The biggest customer for their services were still over 80% 800×600 – a result of the hardware provided to them by another technical service (competition) they had already contracted for. Go figure.

    • #3232915


      by dwdino ·

      In reply to 800×600 vs the rest

      We just tend to do it with CSS.

      We use screen.width and then load the appropriate CSS following.

    • #3234448

      Not everyone has “young eyes”

      by wfrush ·

      In reply to 800×600 vs the rest

      Who is the audience for the web page? If it includes “older viewers” – say those older than 40-50 who have gone through the far-sightedness change that happens to everyone — then you can point out that many, many of those people run their big monitors at 800×600, even though the monitors many be capible of running at 1600×1200 or beyond.
      Many of my clients aged 45+ have their monitors set a lower resolutions because they don’t like reading those “tiny little icons and type.”

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