29 September 2009 11:36am
I'm currently looking at developing standards and best practise guidelines to roll out across our global websites. The first hot topic to arise has been around screen resolution and fixed v. fluid page widths.
We can see from our user stats that the majority of our user base are still viewing the site on 1024x768 resolution. We can see, however, a trend is starting to emerge where this is slowly decreasing over time and users with 1280x800 or 1280x1024 resolutions are increasing. We're also seeing a small but steady rise in users with 1440x900 and even 1680x1050 resolutions.
I'm thinking we need to design to 1024 as a baseline but how do we future-proof the site for increasingly popular and common larger screens? Fixed, fluid, hybrid??
Thoughts, views, comments and suggestions most welcome!
CEO at Econsultancy
29 September 2009 14:27pm
Yes, this is an 'age-old' debate. See for example http://econsultancy.com/forums/other-topics/browser-screen-sizes - more than 4 years ago now but the same issues / challenges.
When we redesigned this site we went for 1024X768 as our baseline whereas the previous site was 800X600. Now, as per my post on 'How many iPhone users does your website get?' we get more people using iPhones as browsers visiting our site than we do at 800X600. So things have moved on, and yet the screen resolution of phones is clearly much smaller.
But, I think for most sites now it would be safe to have 1024X768 as the baseline.
The stretchy vs. fixed debate is a bit more complicated and nuanced. Some sites are 'fixed' but centred (like this one), or are 'fixed' but have elements, e.g. columns, that stretch or 'flex' within that layout.
Something to bear in mind, and I don't know what research there is on this, is that even those with higher screen resolutions mostly don't browse with their browsers maximised. And, from what we've seen, users will often size their browser to suit there way of working or to suit a particular site.
At the moment I'm still happy with the design decisions we made for this site last year i.e. optimised for baseline of 1024X768, centred/fixed but elements which stretch/shrink within that.
Managing Director at Cranmore Digital Consulting Ltd
01 October 2009 09:48am
And there's another trend coming along, which is the growth in use of net book computers by business people. A much smaller screen but the same browsing behaviour/expectations as for PCs rather than for phones. I think the 1024x768 is the best solution for now, but it is a situation in flux.
European Web Analytics Specialist at Canon Europe
11 October 2009 20:51pm
the answer is is in analytics - look at your current site or politely ask people in your marketplace - see what people are using and optimise to it.
You will find an area that is the 'minumum view' that will obviously stretch from the top left, down and accross. In this area you must locate all your biz critical assets - take it from there really in prioritising placings etc
Hope that makes sense.
11 October 2009 20:52pm
when i said 'see what people are using...' i meant users btw :)
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