There are numerous pages which cite that the vast
majority of computer users use 800x600 as their
resolution. Some of these are obviously outdated.
Others require more scrutiny.
For example, this page on web design from CS Ltd software
"The April statistics from TheCounter.com showed that
800 x 600 is by far the most popular resolution, so
one could make an argument that this is the resolution
to have in mind when you design your sites. However,
with about 10% of the public still using 640 x 480,
you could also make an argument for targeting this
resolution to avoid alienating potential visitors
(which is the approach that Designer.com takes)."
A close look at the URL for TheCounter.com (which I
couldn't get to load) makes it clear that this is
from April of 2000.
A similar conclusion is posted at the ReallyFine web
design site, which is copyrighted through 2004, but
no date is in evidence for the statement:
"800 x 600 is accepted as the most popular screen
resolution currently. In fact 800 x 600 is the
default screen resolution for Windows and is
generally not altered by PC users. Resent [sic]
large-scale studies have shown that approximately
50% of web users use 800 x 600 resolution, while
25% use the higher 1024 x 768 resolution. The
640 x 480 resolution, traditionally thought of
as the default video option, is in decline. WebTV
is at a resolution of 544 x 384."
Knowing the pulse of the web as I do, I suspected
that this was also somewhat outdated, due to the
number of younger users I know whose eyesight and
laptops make the use of 1024x768 increasingly
Web-In-Motion, a commentary on web usability, design
and trends, written by Jill C., Senior Web Developer
for Magnetic-Media.com & InternetResults.com says:
"It's hard to get a handle on what the majority of
users have their resolutions set at. There are
statistics sites, server stats and polls -- most
of these report that 800 x 600 is the average
resolution people are using. Then again, it's hard
to get a handle on how reliable web statistics
really are. (Check out the link at right, Debunking
Browser Stats, for some interesting reading on this
"Just because people have hardware that supports hi-res
imaging doesn't mean they are going to have it set high.
I know several people who have 20" monitors set at
640 x 480 because they have trouble reading the text
at higher resolutions. I have a 19" monitor which will
support a maximum of 1280 x 1024. Most of the time I
have it set at 800 x 600 simply because I know this is
what most of my audience is using."
Finally, we come to DreamInk's Web Design Guide, which
makes its points supported by actual statistics which
are dated on the page as being from September 2003.
The statistics match what I sense going on with the
users I know. While 800x600 is still in the majority
at 47%, 640x480 has almost disappeared, bringing
1024x768 to a close second, at 42%.
Much more on the page:
Thoughts relevant to your question continue on the
next page of the tutorial:
"Most often a resolution of 800 X 600 is chosen - the
most common resolution in desktop usage, and also
generally viewable by most laptop systems. 640 X 480
resolution is being superceded by the trend toward
"Pages designed for lower monitor resolution are also
viewable by monitors set to higher resolution. Content
may be centered or moved to the left or right of the
screen. Consider that small text sizes are not easily
viewable on larger resolution monitors."
"The quest for personalization can lead to the choice
of presenting each visitor with a version of the
webpage tailored to individual monitor resolutions.
A browser detection/redirection script may be used
to detect monitor resolution. When the visitor enters
the page, they are automatically redirected to a page
created to be specifically viewable in their own
type only works for version 4.x and higher browsers."
Links to such scripts are available on the page:
In summary, I feel quite confident in recommending that
you design your site around a resolution of 800x600.
This still accounts for the majority of users, and
the page will just look slightly emptier on the right
for those using a higher resolution - and those users
are used to this since so many sites utilize these design
parameters. If you wish to be overly accommodating, you
viewers with different resolutions. I would also suggest
that you use a minimum text size of 11-12 points, which
won't become unreadable when a viewer using a larger
resolution encounters the page.
Please do not rate this answer until you are satisfied that
the answer cannot be improved upon by way of a dialog
established through the "Request for Clarification" process.
A user's guide on this topic is on skermit-ga's site, here:
Additional information may be found from further exploration
of the links provided above, as well as those resulting from
the Google searches, outlined below.
Searches done, via Google:
"viewers using" "800 x 600" majority
"800 x 600 is"
Clarification of Answer by
05 May 2004 00:41 PDT
This just in:
An esteemed colleague, denco-ga, has pointed me to a
set of statistics which is dated June 26, 2003 which
supercedes the date on DreamInk's statistics. The
article is hosted on the ChannelMinds IT News site,
and cites statistics from OneStat.com:
"The screen resolution 1024 x 768 has reached an all
time high and has risen from 46.1 percent to 48.3
percent. Users with monitors set to the most common
resolution 800 x 600 for web sites have an approximate
31.7 percent global usage share. The finding has
important implications for web site designers because
most web sites are designed for a screen resolution of
800 x 600 pixels."
These are specified to be global statistics, rather than
North American, and I would still stand by my earlier
assessment, that those who use a higher resolution are
used to, and not distressed by, sites designed for 800x600.
Nonetheless, the option of providing personalized page
sizes is looking more prudent as things progress. The
trend to higher resolutions seems clear and consistent.