Only 960px? No More. Please

According to web browsing statistics only about 20% of the web users use displays 1024 pixels wide or less, and this count is fast declining. It looks like 1366px will quickly become the most used width. And still so many web pages are designed around fixed-width layouts of 960px, leaving most of us with half-empty displays with vertically laid-out information. Haven’t we realized displays are very horizontal nowadays?

I believe designers should seriously start considering adapting to the real sizes of their users’ screens. Be creative. Think of web pages as something horizontal rather than vertical – don’t make us scroll down all the time while leaving lots of empty space at the sides. Think adaptive layouts. Think. Do not copy what is already old and doesn’t suit most of us.

Hopefully at some point we developers will all use media queries and designers insisting on fixed width (which I understand gives them much more control) will provide for at least a couple of alternative layouts, one of them looking good on 1024px, and another one on 1366px or wider. Maybe things like this will help.

(For a time, this might be a little like when people supported IE6 and other browsers via loading alternative style sheets, but this time by using standard methods.)

Is anyone seriously raising to the challenge? Please let me know. I’d love to hear of high traffic sites already using some approach to multi-resolution support.

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  1. #1 by Soyeb on 2011/11/14 - 13:49

    Be creative with the extra width, use vertical tabs down the side of your screen. You can have more tabs, and then arrange them as collapsible trees. See tabbrowser-extensions for firefox to see what I mean.

    Personally I don’t have a problem with 960px wide layouts. On hi-res screens you get more stuff vertically visible, and still have room for your tab bar down the side.

  2. #2 by Mick on 2012/02/08 - 21:24

    Definition of irony:

    An article encouraging web designers to create templates that expand beyond the 1024 x768 screen resolution on a template that is itself designed for 1024 x 768.

    Anyway on a more serious note, yes I do agree with you, to a certain extent, but in my humble opinion, a nice use of a decent, cleverly designed background image can remove the dull empty space and fill it up with something that, if the designer is any use, is at the very least related to the design and content of the website.

    Then again according to w3schools the statistics for screen resolutions, as of January 2012 are:

    640 x 480: 0%
    800 x 600: 1%
    1024 x768: 13%
    Higher: 85%
    Other: 1%

    • #3 by Carles Barrob├ęs on 2012/02/08 - 22:16

      Haha, yes you’re right about my wordpress template. I eventually settled for the one you saw because it was quite customisable and looked good with code samples, and didn’t have a huge banner. I have used the opportunity to change it to a flexible one, more fitting to my rants. Cheers.

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