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Q: Internet Screen and Resolution Standard ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   2 Comments )
Subject: Internet Screen and Resolution Standard
Category: Computers > Internet
Asked by: canadianangler-ga
List Price: $15.00
Posted: 04 May 2004 20:46 PDT
Expires: 03 Jun 2004 20:46 PDT
Question ID: 341264
What is the most common screen size and reslutions uses in today's
household (not business)? Using this question to determine coding of a
Subject: Re: Internet Screen and Resolution Standard
Answered By: sublime1-ga on 04 May 2004 23:58 PDT
Rated:4 out of 5 stars

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 Some of these are obviously outdated.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 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 takes)."

A close look at the URL for (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that this was also somewhat outdated, due to the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 & 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
 larger monitors."

"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."

An advanced concept is javascript personalization:

"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
 monitor resolution. Javascript redirection of this
 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
can utilize javascript to deliver personalized pages for
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 sublime1-ga on 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

"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.


Clarification of Answer by sublime1-ga on 24 Jun 2005 15:58 PDT
The author of this question and future readers may be interested
in the discussion of this topic on Slashdot, which mentions this
question and answer:

canadianangler-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars
Pretty Fast and pretty Good. A difficult task to answer considering
their are facts and then there are best practises.


Subject: Re: Internet Screen and Resolution Standard
From: bhtooefr2-ga on 17 Jun 2004 07:50 PDT
You could just target 800x600, but make it so that it is not screen
size dependent at sizes larger than that - look at any site made in
FrontPage. It works w/o horizontal scrolling on even 640x480, but the
screen is generally filled all the way horizontally even at 1280x1024
or higher.

I'm not a researcher, so I obviously can't submit this as an answer,
and it's answered already too.
Subject: Re: Internet Screen and Resolution Standard
From: msh210-ga on 17 Jun 2004 11:55 PDT
On the other hand, one should not design Web pages to be visible
specifically at certain screen resolutions (sizes). See, e.g.,
(and, incidentally, the rest of that set of pages, for more on how to
author Web pages to allow anyone to read them).

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