posted 11-27-2001 01:42 PM PT (US)
I posted the following on someone's message board a few minutes ago and I don't want to lose it, so I'm posting it here (I made some alterations so that it doesn't refer to only that specific person's site). I will probably copy/paste it from here to a few more message boards in the future.
I like the content of lots of websites that am I not likely to revisit. Here's why:
I have a desktop computer - two of them actually. The screen mode I use is 1280x1024. I love that resolution and would use it on every computer, if I could.
I also have a laptop. It's a very good laptop - it's fast, has plenty of memory, and I take it everywhere. And, guess what? It's highest screen resolution is 800x600. Care to take any guesses about how annoying websites are that are designed for higher than 800x600?
And I am not alone. According to the statistics at The Counter.com - which is a site that gets 830,000+ hits per hour and which checks screen resolution on every hit - 54% of the population uses 800x600 (4% are using 640x480) screen resolution (measured in October 2001). If you are designing for higher than 800x600, did you know that your site is probably being rejected by 58% of its visitors just because of this poor website design choice?
Some reply, "Well, that's changing - as video cards get better and more and more old computers are sent to the landfill, fewer and fewer people are using 800x600 every day." Don't count on it, bub. Most people already have the capability to use higher resolutions, but guess what: not everyone's eyes are as good as everyone else's. Most people choose 800x600 given the alternatives. And, by the way - just how fast is it changing? Well, one year ago, last October, 55% of the population was using 800x600 - that's a drop of only 1% in a year! (8% were using 640x480).
And something else to realize - the number of people using the Internet over the last year has increased by about 12%, so the actual number of people (as opposed to a percentage) using 800x600 mode has increased.
I simply don't understand egocentric people who think that because their site looks good on their own screens, in whatever resolution that they happen to use, then it must look good for everyone else, too; or, worse, they think that their resolution is better than than everyone else's, so screw everyone else. That's a great attitude for a designer to have if he or she is going to be the only one who will ever see the site a second time - but if someone wants repeat visitors and visitors who will not click the browser shut the moment their site opens, the attitude stinks.
Why not follow the number one rule of good website design so that the other 54% of the population can enjoy your site? Design for 800x600 mode.