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How many people still use the old 800x600 resolution?

Designing a site that can fit on the screen for this resolution is easy enough but when looking at the site on a high resolution screen it makes the site look small and insignificant with yards for space all round.

Is it worth designing sites for this lower resolution given that screen technology has advanced to such a degree that people no longer use the 800x600 resolution on their monitors?

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11 Answers

up vote 19 down vote accepted

Don't forget that while the monitor might be larger than 800x600 the browser window might not be full screen.

For example I'm running on LCD monitors with 1600x1200 resolution (still quite large) but my browser window is 1100x1200 (approximately).

So you need to look at the most common browser resolution, not the most common screen resolution.

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My resolution is 1920x1280 but my browser is always half-screen (960x1280). Also, at work I am stuck on 1280x960 (and I just noticed its completely 90 degrees from my browser at home!) –  Joe Philllips Aug 24 '10 at 17:57
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This website is very useful for testing your design at different resolutions - resizemybrowser.com –  mar10 Oct 22 '10 at 15:53
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What about doing a liquid layout instead of a fixed width layout? That way, you won't have to bother with browser resolutions and you still get the layout to look how you want it to be.

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I noticed that John Conde already suggested this. Sorry bout this. –  Terence Ponce Sep 4 '10 at 1:01
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Your site design should depend entirely on your target audience.

In most cases, most visitors to your website will have a resolution of greater than 800x600. You can check this using an analytics tool such as Google Analytics.

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800x600 I'd say no. I would suggest 1024x768 as the minimum page size, but be sure that the site is still usable for netbook users, who typically have the 600 pixel vertical limitation of their screens.

I don't mind making netbook users scroll to get to the content, but make sure that any pop-ups and the like fit within that 600 pixel vertical limit - especially important if you've got a "Submit" button at the bottom of it ;?)

Make sure you test the site at the 1024x600 setting to ensure that the ever-growing netbook user population can make do with the site.

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Design for higher browser resolutions but keep the most important area/content of your site within a smaller (for example: 760*y px) part that you can assign the highest priority regarding visibility. ("If my site loads in a 800* browser window, this is what the visitor sees first before scrolling anywhere. Secondary content lies outside this area.")

Btw, the answer also depends on the nature/content of your site and your expected audience. If you don't have access to exact stats, check out the most popular competitor sites in your chosen field and see what size they have optimized their design for.

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Don't forget more and more people are using Smart Phones (and sometimes even not so smart phones) to view sites. Netbooks are also proliferating. Designing your site to look good for users with lower resolution is in some ways more important now than it has ever been.

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Absolutely true. That said, mobile users are much better served by implementing a real mobile-optimized portal. If this is considered from the start of the project, then it is often not that much extra work to make a simpler set of views for the mobile devices. –  Jesper Mortensen Sep 5 '10 at 12:55
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Make your site scale well. This tidbit of advice about 800x600 came from the days when designers would force sites to be 1024 when most people had 800, and couldn't view the site decently.

As mentioned before, the existing trend is to re-size your browser on your screen to fit against the other windows to optimize working.

My browser window is never the same size, i'm always moving it. Your wesbite should be able to deal with that, just like stackexchange does. Obviously don't worry about extreme cases where I make my window too thin.

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One resolution that may be pretty common, but is often forgotten, is 1024x600. It's used by many netbooks. Together with window title, menu and task bar, this leaves just about 500 px. So I wouldn't completely disregard the vertical space...

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Unless you have a specific reason to, I'd say NO.

The majority of large sites are usually centered in a container 990px or a little smaller. This keeps it safe for anything 1024x768 or larger.

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I would say NO*.

* - It all depends on who will be visiting your site. If a good percentage of your visitors use that resolution, then you may want to design for it. Otherwise, if the number is very small (or 0) ... then I wouldn't bother.

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According to W3Counter 800 x 600 accounts for approximately 2.56% of users' browser resolution:

1   1024x768    23.72%
2   1280x800    18.42%
3   1280x1024   10.21%
4   1440x900    8.18%
5   1366x768    6.82%
6   1680x1050   5.19%
7   800x600     2.56%
8   1920x1080   2.37%
9   1152x864    2.11%
10  1024x1024   2.06%

Since that number is lower then IE6's market share, which many websites have abandoned support for, you can argue that it is safe to no longer support that resolution. Having said that, ideally your site design will be fluid and adjust for both narrow and wide screens. That way the maximum amount of visitors who visit your site get the best experience possible.

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Screen res does not necessarily indicate browser res –  Joe Philllips Aug 24 '10 at 17:58
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@Joe: No, but it does mean that the user is able to display it properly and easily, if willing. For people with >1680xY, a narrow 800xY design looks ridiculous. That's 7.5% of all visitors and growing, whereas 800xY is 2.6% and shrinking. Using a fluid layout that looks good at all res is great, but when all is said and done, if 800xY is too much of a nuisance, it can be skipped. –  Sylver Aug 26 '10 at 6:49
    
I'm going to add that scrolling up and down is much less of a nuisance than scrolling left and right –  Joe Philllips Sep 1 '10 at 17:41
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