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  1. #1
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    Question At what point do you switch to a wider layout?

    Hi all,

    I'm doing some research for my company about the trend in decreasing 800x600 screen resolution users. At my last job we had already made the decision to move to a 1024x768 layout (not actually using the full 1024 width.. rather, 950px, for the same reason that we never fully used an 800px layout).

    At my new job I'm trying to convince them to do the same thing. Having an extra couple of hundred horizontal pixels to play with makes site navigation challenges easier (if you have a very large site) and of course, it allows you to put more stuff "above the fold." A CSS liquid layout of course can solve the "above the fold" thing but not necessarily the navigational thing.

    2 years ago, for the month of May 2005, 36% of our users had a 800x600 layout. Over the last month, only 17% of our users had a 800x600 layout. And I've looked at the trend to make sure these numbers weren't a fluke and the data supports the decreasing trend in 800x600 resolution.

    So I'm wondering if any of you have been faced with answering these questions and how you solved them?

    I'm an advocate for moving to more screen space but I'd like to back that up with some solid research.

    thanks!
    Ron

  2. #2
    SitePoint Addict GonzaloGM's Avatar
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    It seems you still have a considerable portion of your audience using 800x600. In my opinion you should wait a little more because that's almost 1/5 of your visitors. Scrolling horizontally is a pain in the *** and you don't want your visitors to get mad when browsing your website. Some of them may switch to 1024x768 because of that, but I'm not really sure though.


  3. #3
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    Right... I'm wondering at what point (percentage wise) it's wise to make the switch? and not just an opinion, but based on real data.

    We aren't an ecommerce store or anything. We're a health insurance company.

    thanks for your input. You're right.. 1/5th does seem like a large number.

  4. #4
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    Maybe the answer is somewhere in between going to a wider layout and also in using a CSS “liquid” layout that moves around based on the end-user resolution. That’s probably where the best move would be. It might look a “little” funny for folks that are using 800x600 but it could still be functional without a horizontal scroll bar.

  5. #5
    In memoriam gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Schulz's Avatar
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    I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Screen resolution as a measurement for design is meaningless and should be avoided at all costs. Just because the normal screen resolution is now 1024x768 these days does not mean that everyone will be running their browser at that size. Go for a liquid-elastic layout that will expand and contract as needed when the user resizes his or her browse - remember, the Web is not a print medium, and ultimately it is the user, not the designer, who has the ultimate control over how a Web page looks in his (or her) browser of choice.

  6. #6
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    Yep.. I'm going to go with the liquid layout. YOU may have said it before, and you may end up saying it again, but I don't read every post on this thread. I have actual work to do and a life outside of work!

    thanks for the input.

  7. #7
    In memoriam gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Schulz's Avatar
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    There's no may about it. I will be saying it again.

  8. #8
    Cha, Cha, Cha!!! Gamermk's Avatar
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    Liquid is definitely the way to go, but do not optimize that layout for 1024x768 and don't think 800x600 is out-dated at all. I'd recommend you check out http://baekdal.com/reports/actual-browser-sizes/ for an article that's based on actual testing.
    People don't read ads. They read what interests them,
    and sometimes that happens to be an ad.
    TrulyBored.com | TankingTips.com

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaymanPirate View Post
    Yep.. I'm going to go with the liquid layout. YOU may have said it before, and you may end up saying it again, but I don't read every post on this thread. I have actual work to do and a life outside of work!
    That's why we have a FAQ on the subject.
    Simon Pieters

  10. #10
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    Where I work, they'll move away from 800x600 when we are seeing < 10&#37; of our visitors using it. I understand what the others in this thread are saying, but layout decisions are out of my control.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaymanPirate View Post
    Right... I'm wondering at what point (percentage wise) it's wise to make the switch? and not just an opinion, but based on real data.
    It's entirely up to you.* How many potential customers are you prepared to alienate? Does any of your competitors have a more user-centric view, attracting those visitors you scare off?

    * Unless you're prevented from discriminating users by national legislation.
    Birnam wood is come to Dunsinane

  12. #12
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    That's why we have a FAQ on the subject.
    Again... I don't comb this site as hard as that might be for you to believe.

    I'd recommend you check out http://baekdal.com/reports/actual-browser-sizes/ for an article that's based on actual testing.
    THAT is a great blog/web site. Most of the articles on usability are really good. The person writing them has some grammar issues, but the meaning comes through very well.

    Usability is basically common sense stuff but sometimes you need someone to point out the pink elephant in the room. Some of those articles are very helpful.

    Thank you all for chiming in. I think I got what I needed.

  13. #13
    Guru Meditation Error gnarly's Avatar
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    Olly Hodgson
    thinkdrastic.net

  14. #14
    Cha, Cha, Cha!!! Gamermk's Avatar
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    Just because every users "fold" is different does not mean there is no fold. There is a reason why navigation always goes at the top.
    People don't read ads. They read what interests them,
    and sometimes that happens to be an ad.
    TrulyBored.com | TankingTips.com

  15. #15
    Guru Meditation Error gnarly's Avatar
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    I know

    It was a tongue-in-cheek thing from Drew McLellan & Simon Collison's talk at @media07.
    Olly Hodgson
    thinkdrastic.net


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