Thursday, February 6, 2014

How wide should my web site be?

In the mid 1990s, monitors were typically had 640 X 480 screen resolution and were 12 to 14 inches wide. Today monitor resolutions are commonly at 1920 x 1080 screen resolution and they are getting physically bigger and bigger. So the question is: How’s your website going handle all of that potential screen size?

We see amateurs who build websites make two mistakes regarding the overall width of the page:

1.            There are some who don’t specify a maximum width of the page and decide to let it fill the entire screen. For certain rare types of websites that can create a cool effect. However, for the vast majority of websites, spreading text across too large an area makes the words very difficult to read

2.            There are those who built their website a decade ago and the site is simply too narrow. While that’s not really a fatal error, it is something to look at when you’re updating your website.

So, the obvious question is: What’s that perfect size. The answer is that there is no perfect size but we’re going to look at what people a lot smarter than we are to see what they are doing. We’ve looked at a number of major website (e.g. Facebook, Google, Walmart) and while they can utilize some space outside of the main area when it’s available, the main area of their website is 980 pixels wide, give or take a few pixels. Therefore, that’s what we’re suggesting you should be using.

However, you may want to do a little work on your own to see what others are doing. We found a wonderful add on for the FireFox brower called MeasureIt. You simply click on the tool they give you and drag it across any area where you’d like to measure the width and height in pixels. We also use it to help us decide what size images will fit in a specific spot on a web page.

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