argument for designing 1024px wide

11 Mar 2008 - 12:46am
6 years ago
16 replies
816 reads
Juan Ruiz
2007

My client, an IT company, is very strong on the position that their new website design should be bigger than 1024px wide (1280px wide). They know that the majority of their customers are from the IT industry, and therefore, they will have monitors with high resolution and screen size.

Their argument is that they want to display as much information (if not all) above the fold.

Almost all my designs are based on 1024px wide because more than 50% of internet users have this screen resolution, and it is (almost) the minimum common denominator.

Is this a battle I should fight, or should I take my client's input and design the homepage for a 1280px wide? Can you guys share your experiences in this topic?

Comments

11 Mar 2008 - 9:51am
jonesabi
2006

1. I'd want to know if they had the analytics to back up that high
resolution claim.

2. Wide screens don't mean wide browser windows. A lot of times they
mean side-by-side windows.

3. A really well thought out liquid layout might help you find a
common design ground on this.

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11 Mar 2008 - 9:53am
Scott McDaniel
2007

I'd fight this fight, but think there's plenty to be done with a
design that's technically meeting their requirements, but has
95%+ of the content and functionality inside a more reasonable
boundary. The "IT Industry" is a wide thing, and even most
developers/designers I know firsthand* use dual-monitors -- larger
resolutions for their work, 1024 for their browsing, email, etc.
and I think you'll find from further surveying that this is still
broadly applicable.

But worst case scenario, you can use the practice in the wider resolution!

Scott

*not a very scientific survey, I know

On Tue, Mar 11, 2008 at 1:46 AM, Juan Ruiz <Juan.Ruiz at hyro.com> wrote:
> My client, an IT company, is very strong on the position that their new website design should be bigger than 1024px wide (1280px wide). They know that the majority of their customers are from the IT industry, and therefore, they will have monitors with high resolution and screen size.
>
> Their argument is that they want to display as much information (if not all) above the fold.
>
> Almost all my designs are based on 1024px wide because more than 50% of internet users have this screen resolution, and it is (almost) the minimum common denominator.
>
> Is this a battle I should fight, or should I take my client's input and design the homepage for a 1280px wide? Can you guys share your experiences in this topic?

--
'Life' plus 'significance' = magic. ~ Grant Morrison

11 Mar 2008 - 10:13am
Mark Schraad
2006

Why does it have to be a specific size? Could it be mutli-size compatible?

On Tue, Mar 11, 2008 at 1:46 AM, Juan Ruiz <Juan.Ruiz at hyro.com> wrote:

> My client, an IT company, is very strong on the position that their new
> website design should be bigger than 1024px wide (1280px wide). They know
> that the majority of their customers are from the IT industry, and
> therefore, they will have monitors with high resolution and screen size.
>
> Their argument is that they want to display as much information (if not
> all) above the fold.
>
> Almost all my designs are based on 1024px wide because more than 50% of
> internet users have this screen resolution, and it is (almost) the minimum
> common denominator.
>
> Is this a battle I should fight, or should I take my client's input and
> design the homepage for a 1280px wide? Can you guys share your experiences
> in this topic?
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
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>

11 Mar 2008 - 10:38am
Rony Philip
2007

1st option: Just as Abi mentioned if there a analysis or proof to show that
a high percentage of users have 1280px then its worthwhile to design for the
said resolution.

2nd option: If not then stick to the safe side and use a liquid resolution.

3rd option: The only other option is to provide a 'select the resolution'
criteria with a drop down or radio buttons. I wonder if this will work...any
comments?

Once you implement the 3rd option, it'll b good to run through a end-user
test to validate the usage pattern.

cheers,
Rony

On 3/11/08, Juan Ruiz <Juan.Ruiz at hyro.com> wrote:
>
> My client, an IT company, is very strong on the position that their new
> website design should be bigger than 1024px wide (1280px wide). They know
> that the majority of their customers are from the IT industry, and
> therefore, they will have monitors with high resolution and screen size.
>
> Their argument is that they want to display as much information (if not
> all) above the fold.
>
> Almost all my designs are based on 1024px wide because more than 50% of
> internet users have this screen resolution, and it is (almost) the minimum
> common denominator.
>
> Is this a battle I should fight, or should I take my client's input and
> design the homepage for a 1280px wide? Can you guys share your experiences
> in this topic?
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

11 Mar 2008 - 10:28am
Harun
2008

I'd please the client and at the same time make sure it gracefully
degrades to smaller resolutions..don't fight, maneuver

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Posted from the new ixda.org
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11 Mar 2008 - 10:57am
Håkan Reis
2006

I would do as suggested. Provide liquid deisgn to support both 1024 and
wider resolutions. But for som extra information regarding the actual
application size there are some interesting facts.

Back in 2005 I wrote a post regarding this My screen
resolution <http://blog.reis.se/2005/06/20/MyScreenResolution.aspx> a
year later I
found <http://blog.reis.se/2006/11/03/TrueScreenResolution.aspx> a post from
Thomas Baekdal around just this: Actual Browser Sizes
(final) <http://www.baekdal.com/reports/actual-browser-sizes> ,
that backed my highly unscientific numbers.

The fact is that most of the time you don't need to design for more than
800px width, regardless of the actual screen sizes...

Regards
--
Håkan Reis
Dotway AB

My blog || http://blog.reis.se
My company || http://dotway.se
Our conference || http://oredev.org - See you in 2008

11 Mar 2008 - 12:20pm
Benjamin Ho
2007

The question is: Do you want to design for the future or the past?
Find out the trend by doing your research (Google) and design
accordingly.

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11 Mar 2008 - 12:34pm
Chris Papadopoulos
2008

Even if most of the programmers and system admins who might use your
client's products have ultra-large monitors, it's not always those
people who make important purchasing decisions. Depending on your
client's product, keeping that in mind might be helpful when arguing
your case.

But my initial reaction to making that wide of a website without a
really good reason is negative. Whoever thinks they need that much
width to give a basic description of products and services isn't
doing a very good job of summarizing the business. A little bit of
scrolling, especially if the target market is computer savvy, is
expected and shouldn't be an issue.

But you're in an awkward spot, so best of luck to you Juan.

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11 Mar 2008 - 1:34pm
Todd Warfel
2003

On Mar 11, 2008, at 11:57 AM, Håkan Reis wrote:

> I would do as suggested. Provide liquid deisgn to support both 1024
> and wider resolutions. But for som extra information regarding the
> actual application size there are some interesting facts.

One major reason we don't design pure liquid layouts, where the line
lengths change with the window width, is that it doesn't maintain the
optimal line length for reading and retention, which is around 70-90
characters per line. Instead we used a fixed width based on a grid for
960 (or so) that is centered in the screen. This approach maintains
the optimal line length, ensures design integrity, and "fills" the
browser window for those who surf full screen.

Cheers!

Todd Zaki Warfel
President, Design Researcher
Messagefirst | Designing Information. Beautifully.
----------------------------------
Contact Info
Voice: (215) 825-7423
Email: todd at messagefirst.com
AIM: twarfel at mac.com
Blog: http://toddwarfel.com
----------------------------------
In theory, theory and practice are the same.
In practice, they are not.

11 Mar 2008 - 4:49pm
Troy Gardner
2008

Had the same issue at my client. What we settled on was a 1280
design, but all the core message/buttons had to be mostly visible
inside the ~1000x730 that's left after browser and XP chrome and
scrollbars.

We use liquid layout for the verticle when text is long to avoid
keyhole/scrolling, but keep it fixed width and just center so the
designers can wrap their heads around it.

As others have said, In general just because one has a huge screen
size, does not mean that it's available, or that every pixel should be
packed with information, it's still a matter of focusing the users
attention at the right time on the right 'where can I go from here',
and here 'white space' can help with this.

11 Mar 2008 - 10:36pm
Preston Smalley
2007

As Troy points out the question isn't what monitor resolutions you customers have available it's what reasonable width is optimal for interacting with your site?

For example if it's a content site, the NY Times has targeted 970px fixed width for two reasons: advertising doesn't flex well and that the newspaper business learned a long time ago that people can read faster if content is in columns and more narrow.

If you were designing an online application (e.g. Flickr picture organizer) than a scalable version that takes advantage of your full height and width is best.

To put things in perspective on a consumer side, at eBay we've seen the 1280 monitor size rise over the last couple years but it's still under 30% and includes a number of notebook computer users with just an 800 height (wide-screen notebooks). Therefore we've continue to target a 930 design width (to allow for padding and chrome) for most of our pages. Over the next year we'll also likely move to constrain the width of our pages so that they don't flex to the full width of the page as they actually become less usable (e.g. imagine a sign-in page spread out over a wide screen).

Good luck!
Preston

13 Mar 2008 - 12:19am
timoni
2008

That is an awkward position. It sounds like you have a lot of excellent
solutions--I'd also add that, if you find 1024px+ is indeed an overestimate,
you can rest safely in knowing that "the fold" is much less of an priority (
http://www.boxesandarrows.com/view/blasting-the-myth-of,
http://www.useit.com/alertbox/screen_resolution.html) than it used to be.
Important information should highlighted, but it's clear users (especially
experienced IT users with big monitors) are okay with scrolling.

+ + http://timoni.org + +

13 Mar 2008 - 11:22am
Kevin Doyle
2007

Hmm... tough situation. How much content do they want above the fold?
It sounds like too much, regardless -- like Steve Krug says, "Omit
needless words". Get rid of all that "Welcome to" BS, verbose
instructions and the like. After you've cut things down, do it
again. It's a fact that users just don't read fully web pages
unless they're articles and even then, users usually scan. If
there's a lot of content that the client absolutely feels has to be
on the page, there's nothing wrong with prioritizing and
compartmentalizing the content and then moving the less important
stuff below the fold.

If you're going to fight them, you might want to create a to-scale
mock up of the page at different screen resolutions (paper or HTML),
show it to the client and then run the client through some basic
usability testing -- come up with a few tasks based on the content
and time how quickly they're able to figure things out. I'm pretty
sure they'll see how difficult it is to process the amount of
content they want on the page.

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Posted from the new ixda.org
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14 Mar 2008 - 2:30am
Håkan Reis
2006

Just another thougth, maybe far fetched, but what about all those ultra
portables? Should they all be left out?
They don't come with super wide monitors. There is a limitation to what you
can fit on a 10"-12" monitor...

Have a great weekend
--
Håkan Reis
Dotway AB

My blog || http://blog.reis.se
My company || http://dotway.se
Our conference || http://oredev.org - See you in 2008

18 Mar 2008 - 8:15pm
Formulate
2007

I know many developers and those that have large monitors usually
have multiple windows open on them, with none "maximised".

The point that the Boxes and Arrows article and many others here make
is the key one: knowing the size of the monitor doesn't tell you much
about the size of the browser window.

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Posted from the new ixda.org
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20 Mar 2008 - 11:44pm
Preston Smalley
2007

Regarding Jessica's comment, our site tracking metrics do measure both monitor resolution and browser width. At this point we're seeing large discrepancy between the two on folks with larger monitors. In other words as people's monitors continue to get bigger we're not seeing the same trends in browser width--which makes sense.

On a related note, here's a great post on how to leverage larger and multiple monitors to improve productivitity.

http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/001076.html

It includes using software that "tiles" your windows across the monitor effectively reducing the size so that they're more usable. If more and more "large monitor" users start doing that it actually could help stabilize our browser widths a bit.

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