I’ve had a number of people email and ask why screen resolution matters to a web designer. Here’s the answer. Below is the same web site shown how they look in different resolutions.
800 x 600 screen resolution
1024 x 768 screen resolution
1280 x 1024 screen resolution
About 12% of people have the 800 x 600 browser – notice how the site fits in that resolution without any horizontal scrolling (people often don’t realise how to scroll sideways). But you can’t see much down the page.
About 56% of visitors will have the next resolution – the 1024 x 768 resolution. This one fits nicely with a bit of white space either side of the side of the design. Notice also how you get quite a bit of information on the screen – we call that above the fold. You can see how much more valuable real estate we get because of that.
And that’s vital – because when reading web pages, much like newspapers, it’s the ‘above the fold’ stuff that gets the most attention.
You can see what gets seen is all the way down to the forum mention and the design looks quite neat being at the bottom of the side boxes.
16% have the 1280 x 1024 resolution. As you can see here, plenty more information above the fold.
Will The Design Show The Key Features
So when designing, you need to understand how the site will look in the browsers most likely to be used by the visitor and if you design enables them to see the important things that lead to the action you want.