The best thing to do is to design for the most common resolution and stick with it. You could always create a splash page with a script that detects the users screen resolution then sends them to a specific section of your site that you've designed for their resolution, however, this is time consuming for you and if you wanted to change one thing on your site then you would need to change it for every section you have for different resolutions.
With a proliferation of non-pc devices I am working towards making one scalable layout for any resolution with different parts of the interface being portrayed slightly differently if need be. This includes scaling text and graphics on the fly to match the presentation. The technology finally exists to be able to do this reliably without relying on redirection to multiple web pages.
Approx. 70% of internet surfers use 800 X 600, 10-13% use 640 X 480, 3% use below 640 X 480 and the rest use more than 800 X 600.
In the next 5 years, it is estimated that over 1 billion non-PC devices will be sold with internet capabilities. This includes cell phones with resolutions as low as 40 characters by 25 lines. It includes PDA's like the Palm VII and Casio e-105, most of which have a resolution of 240 X 320. It also includes set-top boxes which have a resolution between 544 X 392 and 640 X 480. The set-top boxes include Web-TV, Sega Dreamcast, Sony PSX2 and up coming devices from other companies including Sony, Panasonic, Magnavox and many other companies.
Designing for any particular resolution is a very limiting proposition.
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote/font><HR>Originally posted by westmich: Your best bet is to design your site for 640x480.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>And should you bother taking into account that when IE users leave their favorites or history navigation bar open on the left, the screen is reduced more? Or, is that just getting too specific?
You can't account for how every user has their browser setup and PC setup.
If they have their taskbar visible at all times you just lost another 40 pixels. What if that taskbar is on the left of the screen. They have favorites, channels or history open and you just lost another 120 to 140 pixels. But wait those frames are resizable, who knows what size the user has them set to. How many of the 4 different toolbars are they showing? Are they tiled? What about add-on's like Alexa, Pay-to-Surf Bars or Neoplanet's channels.
I can almost guarantee you that if you get 10,000 people to visit your site that each and every one of them will have their computer set up differently affecting the available screen space.
The trick is to make your page look as good as you can without it being messed up by all these petty variables. HTML was never supposed to have the layout capabilities of desktop publishing software. As it is the language gives us fairly broad control over layout and design. Pick a base resolution and design your site as best you can around it. Check your server logs to see who is visiting your site and what their settings are. Only then can you serve your customers and visitors well.
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote/font><HR>Approx. 70% of internet surfers use 800 X 600, 10-13% use 640 X 480, 3% use below 640 X 480 and the rest use more than 800 X 600.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
I am curious as to where you are getting your info. Also, I thought i remebered from earlier posts that you took the hard line of designing your sites for 640 x 480? And as far as the other Internet devices, won't they rely on a different language all together like XML?
I take a hard line designing for standards compliant HTML that is viewable in all resolutions. Designing a web site is for the visitors. You don't design your site for your enjoyment alone. You need to account for everyone. This includes people with limited capabilities or equipment that can't handle large resolutions or fancy multimedia. I know people who use 486's and Pentiums to surf the web. They have more important priorities in their personal lives to spend their money on. Most of these people are older and got their computers as hand-me-downs from family. A lot people with WebTV, Dreamcasts and who will purchase the PSX2 can't afford computers or think they don't have the know-how to use them. Just because these people aren't as well off as others doesn't mean they should be left out.
If your own site statistics support a higher resolution then you can decide to design for it. My suggestion is to make your site viewable in all the resolutions and you will find that your hit trackers just might get more of a workout. Making it standards compliant using only W3C approved tags and attributes will make your site easier to maintain and update.
XML is not a presentation based technology. Even if you look at XML in a browser like IE 5 it will not have any presentation. It will simply look like HTML with custom tags. XML is a technology used to present data so that the computer can read it and manipulate it. Using other technologies in conjunction with XML you can transform that data into webpages that are viewable in HTML browsers, WAP devices or any other device you can imagine.
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