Aaron Brethorst

Round peg in a square hole, rabid generalist.

Picking a Screen Resolution

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Every year or so, I check into the latest recommendations on website sizing and screen resolutions. Surprisingly, about 17% of web users still browse at 800x600px, which may sound like a small number, but remember that there are 200,000,000 Internet users in the United States. A fifth of 200,000,000 is still 40 million people (yowza!).

That said, according to Jakob Nielsen, a majority of Internet users are now browsing at 1024x768px, or above, which means you’re no longer restricted to designing into a cramped 700px-wide window section. Don’t take this to mean you can go hog-wwild, though! Optimize for 1024x768px, but support everything from 800x600px and up with well-constructed fluid layouts.

In my experience, we (people designing user interfaces to be consumed by others) tend to have hardware far more powerful and capable than what the average user might see. Right now, the top ten screen resolutions of all of you reading this blog (through the website, not the feeds) are:

  1. 1600x1200 - 26.88%
  2. 1280x1024 - 20.97%
  3. 1024x768 - 19.35% (see, 1024x768px is super-low compared to the norm!)
  4. 1280x800 - 8.60%
  5. 1680x1050 - 5.38%
  6. 1152x864 - 5.38%
  7. 1920x1200 - 3.76%
  8. 1280x768 - 3.23%
  9. 1400x1050 - 3.23%
  10. 1440x900 - 1.08%

Jakob Nielsen will be here in Seattle in late October to discuss the present and future of web usability as part of the User Experience 2006 conference.

Updated @ 7:51 AM, 15 August 2006: Cleaned up the first sentence, I just realized it made no sense.

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