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  1. #1
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    Question Is anyone still designing for 640 resolution screens?

    When I first started designing websites the rule seemed to be that you designed for the lowest resolution (640x480) so that no side scrolling occurred and then constrained the design in a table to control layout so the pages didn't spread out all over the place on higher resolution screens.

    Is anyone but me still designing to account for 640x480 resolution screens? It appears Microsoft and Adobe are still constraining their layout with the lower resolutions in mind.

    Of late I seem to be seeing a move toward 800x600 as the target resolution.

    Anyone have an opinion?
    "Living life in the fun lane!"

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    SitePoint Addict ThomasAesir's Avatar
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    Red face 800x600

    I tend to use 800x600 as a good middle ground.

    Looking at Microsoft's website, the one thing that comes to mind is they develop to the lowest common denominator. So in the end they neglect all other resolutions. They should write "best viewed in 640x480" at the bottom of all their pages.

    If I had unlimited time and budget I would develop for all resolutions (ie product640.html, products800.html and products1280.html) but who has the time?
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  3. #3
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    It has been sort of doing the swap over for the last 2 - 3 years and over the last year the swap over is just about set, almost about all designers I know of don't bother designing for 640x480... it constricts what you can do and makes sites look odd at higher resolutions.

    Technology has to move forward at some stage, and we can't always cater for every single person using out-dated technology at the expense of 'normal users'.

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    Re: 800x600

    Originally posted by ThomasAesir
    If I had unlimited time and budget I would develop for all resolutions (ie product640.html, products800.html and products1280.html) but who has the time?
    While it doesn't fix the lower resolution problem, it's quite easy to make fluid websites which fit 800x600 and expand to fill any resolution above it.. That's the technique i almost always use.

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    Re: Re: 800x600

    Originally posted by platinum

    it's quite easy to make fluid websites which fit 800x600 and expand to fill any resolution above it.. That's the technique i almost always use.
    What happens to the paragraphs and photo placement when viewed at 1280? Don't the paragraphs get wider and shorter vertically? Do you have a specific example of a fluid site that fits 800x600 and expands well to fill 1280?
    "Living life in the fun lane!"

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    well, most people dont browse at fullscreen at those resolutions, i use a window at about 950 x 700 and it's about comfortable

    As for examples www.sitepointforums.com , http://beta.platinumwebsitedesign.com works rather well , www.hostrocket.com (you'll see their method is a little half and half which is just as good) for a couple of examples...

    There are times when you have to use fixed width, I will admit...
    Last edited by platinum; May 26, 2002 at 09:15.

  7. #7
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    Originally posted by platinum
    well, most people dont browse at fullscreen at those resolutions, i use a window at about 950 x 700 and it's about comfortable
    Okay, but that's exactly my point. Fluid pages only seem to retain their layout if they're constrained.

    As for examples http://beta.platinumwebsitedesign.com works rather well
    A rather attractive site, but, if I blow my screen up to 1020, the paragraphs in the center column get really wide and thin. The other two columns don't change though. Why is that?
    www.hostrocket.com (you'll see their method is a little half and half which is just as good) for a couple of examples...
    That site is effectively constrained at 800x600 which still seems to be the only way to control layout !

    Oh well... But it does seem that many are abandoning 640 resolution altogether...
    "Living life in the fun lane!"

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    Originally posted by ThomFoolery
    Fluid pages only seem to retain their layout if they're constrained.
    Sort of, but i dont want to be constrained I actually dont like browsing even at 800x600 anymore, even though that's what i design for (and above)... i prefer (and so do a lot of other people according to most of the statistics going around) to be at about 1024 x 768 -- in 2-5 or so years time i think we'll see 1024 x 768 become the most common resolution

  9. #9
    Froot r gewd SubKamran's Avatar
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    I target 800x600...I know NOONE who uses 640x*** see, i even forgot the resolution

    No, I design for 1024x768...but, I take care of 800x600...
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    I design for 640x480! I know of three people who use it, and I wouldn't want to lock them out of my site. Also, most computer labs run at 640, so you're locking out a bunch of casual surfers.

    I use a fluid layout, so that my designs don't look sparse at higher resolutions.

    I personally run at 1600x1200, but I don't neglect the people who use 640x480.

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    Originally posted by qslack
    I use a fluid layout, so that my designs don't look sparse at higher resolutions...
    But most of the fluid layouts I've seen either spread out all over the place when you widen them out for higher resolution or do the reverse in smaller space. Do you constrain your indivudual columns so they look the same at varying resolutions? http://www.hostrocket.com sort of does that although their site is set for an 800x600 user except for the header. Could you do that with a two or three column layout so that the width was fluid but the individual columns stayed a fixed width. I know it would mean more or less white space between columns but the layout would remain intact.

    Maybe I'm to hung up on layout but my years as a newspaper man and my Pagemaker experience makes me try to make things look "pretty". Not that I have the time or the inclination to design pages for every possible resolution. I'm just looking for a shortcut resolution.
    "Living life in the fun lane!"

  12. #12
    SitePoint Wizard iTec's Avatar
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    Thom, i think the solution you are kind of looking for would be to have a 3 column table with the width of the left and right column fixed at a size and the center column set to stretch, then within the center column you have a table fixed at a crtain size, this way as the reoltuions get higher the content doesnt strech out, but the outer columns do. Only it would mean forgetting about 640x480 and going with 800x600 as the minimal.

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    Originally posted by iTec
    Thom, i think the solution you are kind of looking for would be to have a 3 column table... Only it would mean forgetting about 640x480 and going with 800x600 as the minimal.
    Yup! That seems to be the solution. My biggest concern is if I'm going to be losing folks who use computer labs, libraries, schools and other "public" sources for Internet access weho might still be at the low res. Oh well...
    "Living life in the fun lane!"

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    Grumpy Mole Man Skunk's Avatar
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    One technique that works quite well (depending on the site) is to design a site with a fixed layout for 800x600 but that is still usable at 640x480. You do this by ensuring that the right hand column of the site (which is visible in 800x600 but off the side of the screen in 640x480) is not essential for navigation of the site. If you put your ads for other bits of the site, mail-this-to-a-friend links, skyscraper banner ads and so in in that part of the layout your 640x480 visitors will still be able to access important site functionality without scrolling sideways.

  15. #15
    SitePoint Evangelist AlexC's Avatar
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    i recently all of a sudden started developing (if you can call it that) for 640x480 when my monitor blew up on me and the only spare one i had was an IBM 14" monitor cabable of a maximum of 640x480 (using it now, and probably for another 3 weeks unless anyone wants to send me a monitor) and i realised how many sites aren't designing for these resolutions

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  16. #16
    SitePoint Wizard creole's Avatar
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    Originally posted by qslack
    Also, most computer labs run at 640, so you're locking out a bunch of casual surfers.
    At what school Quinn? Most labs that I've seen set their resolution to 800x600.
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    SitePoint Wizard creole's Avatar
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    Originally posted by qslack
    I design for 640x480! I know of three people who use it, and I wouldn't want to lock them out of my site
    If you design for 800x600, you're not "locking" anyone out of your site. They can still see the site just fine, they'll just have to scroll a little bit.
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  18. #18
    My precious!!! astericks's Avatar
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    the websites i design will fit to 800x600 and higher..lower than that...kaboom!!!

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    SitePoint Wizard
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    Originally posted by creole

    If you design for 800x600, you're not "locking" anyone out of your site. They can still see the site just fine, they'll just have to scroll a little bit.
    Imagine if the end of each line was cut off, and you had to scroll for each line. Then imagine you weren't very good with the mouse...

    They are being locked out.

  20. #20
    SitePoint Wizard
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    My site is static at 640x480, which is a decision I had to make after much consideration and deliberation. The main reason I decided to do it like that was because it's easier to read text that is in smaller columns. Here's one case where print and Web share the same rule -- just look at newspapers!

  21. #21
    Node mutilating coot timnz's Avatar
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    Originally posted by creole

    At what school Quinn? Most labs that I've seen set their resolution to 800x600.
    My school does, all the "information management" computers are at 640*480 because I think those teachers must be blind. The computer classroom varies, but before they got their "new" P-II's at the start of this year, the top resolution in the room was 800*600, with most at 640*480, half of which were using 256 colours, and then they would say: "use the internet to find information", and so you would sit there staring at a mosaic on your screen, going yeah right as the 56k uplink for the satellite crawed along and timed out... I haven't been back since.

    So, yes and no, but personally I don't design specifically for 640 but I do make sure that nothing goes spastic at that resolution.
    Oh no! the coots are eating my nodes!

  22. #22
    SitePoint Member Zlatko's Avatar
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    I don't even think that it is possible to set the screen resolution to 640x480 at windows XP...

  23. #23
    SitePoint Wizard holmescreek's Avatar
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    Most of the sites I build are e-commerce sites. I figure if the visitor can't afford at least a 17" monitor (about $89 if you shop around) with 800x600 enabled, they don't need to be shopping for jewelry online.

  24. #24
    Grumpy Mole Man Skunk's Avatar
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    Originally posted by holmescreek
    Most of the sites I build are e-commerce sites. I figure if the visitor can't afford at least a 17" monitor (about $89 if you shop around) with 800x600 enabled, they don't need to be shopping for jewelry online.
    That sounds like a dangerous assumption to me. In my experience low resolutions are not a case of lack of money, they are a case of lack of computing experience. I have met dozens of (non-computer-literate) people who run their screens at 640x480 - when I showed them they could increase the resolution in their desktop settings they were amazed as they had never realised it was possible. Unfortunately, many of them then asked me to switch it back fore them as they thought the text was too small and unreadable

    An ecommerce site selling something like jewellery sounds to me like the exact kind of thing that needs to be made accessible at different resolutions - after all, just because a rich person can afford a good computer doesn't mean they know how to set it up properly.

  25. #25
    SitePoint Guru
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    My company is run, and was owned prior to going public, by a wealthy family. When it was a family run business the IT department would work on their home computer all the time. The equipment was ancient and outdated. People who design websites have to remember that new computers and upgraded software are not of the same importance to everyone. If you don't mind making potential customers scroll, fine, but you're just kidding yourself if you think that everyone who has money to spend will spend it on a new monitor.


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