What resolution do you prefer to design with? You have several options, and choices to make when choosing to use a particular resolution for your design. There is no hard and fast rule, yet there are some things to think about that will help you make an informed decision.
Make the decision to optimize
When designing a website you could optimize your sites with a resolution of 1024 x 768. As a designer you will have to make a decision such as which screen size is best or maybe you will conclude that it doesn’t matter which resolutions. Just a few years back, when we were strictly using web safe colors (say this more colorfully), everyone stuck with the 800 x 600 resolution for web design. Is that still relevant today? Should you design at the highest end of the screens that are on the market? Or perhaps, you can as a general rule, optimize uour designs for a certain resolution.
Are liquid layouts the answer?
A poll taken at http://www.hobo-web.co.uk shows that 61% of their users prefer to design at 1280 x 800 resolutions; however, it is best to optimize for 1024 x 768. One way to do this is liquid layouts which are meant to present a website without the use of scrolling horizontal bars. You could design a site at 1024 x 768 using liquid layouts in %; but, there are many ways to do this and some of you may decide another way is better and that is fine. Okay now getting back to that special word optimize. What does it mean? Basically, it means that you as the designer should aim to create a site that’s made to work on the most common screens, which you fill see after very minimal investigation is 1024 x 768.
Take a step back and let reality set in. Your number one goal is to design a site based on the UX (user experience) and not a screen resolution. Your first priority is the needs of your users and then work that in with the screen resolutions and are your users more likely to have a 800 x 600 monitor or is your audience a tech audience with large LCD screens.
Lastly, one way to judge your sites is to use what is known as ” above the fold “ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Above_the_fold). This just means when you arrive at a site what do you see without scrolling down. You want to be able to see your focal points in your visual hierarchy and not the bottom half of your masthead (banner). Test this on different computers to make sure your above the fold is the same as 2 or 3 others. This is subject to many considerations, but this post at http://www.boxesandarrows.com explains some studies that refute this design principle. One thing to remember is that people who are used to your site will scroll but will the new person give you the time and day to scroll to the bottom? This answer is up to you to figure out based on what you believe is needed in regards to your users. One thing is for sure, great design will draw the eye and naturally allow them to follow the site. Whether you use the “fold” technique or not, design well and use visual hierarchy to manipulate where your users look first, second, and so on.
What are your thoughts?
Do you agree or disagree?
How long till we start optimizing for higher resolutions?
What are your thoughts on fluid layouts?