Paraphrasing Jacob Nielson: Size Matters!


Jacob Nielsen has some things to say about size in his July 31 Alertbox. Specifically, screen resolution.

According to his figures, he didn't quote a source, about 60% of people are using 1024x768 and 17% are using 800x600 (hi Dad).

He gives the following advise:

  • Optimize for 1024x768, which is currently the most widely used screen size. Of course, the general guideline is to optimize for your target audience's most common resolution, so the size will change in the future. It might even be a different size now, if, say, you're designing an intranet for a company that gives all employees big monitors.
  • Do not design solely for a specific monitor size because screen sizes vary among users. Window size variability is even greater, since users don't always maximize their browsers (especially if they have large screens).
  • Use a liquid layout that stretches to the current user's window size (that is, avoid frozen layouts that are always the same size).

These comments are interesting, as well:

"anyone who makes at least $50,000 per year ought to have at least 1600x1200 screen resolution"

"Within the next 10 years, I expect monitors of, say, 5000x3000 to be in fairly common use, at least among high-end business professionals."

Given the current price of 19 inch LCD monitors having wide use of 5000x3000 pixel monitors in 10 years doesn't sound unreasonable. Of course, I'm sure there will still be a large contingent running them in 1024x768!