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Screen Resolution

It's very important to design your site to look good at all screen resolutions. Just because you include a message saying that your web site is best viewed at a particular resolution, that doesn't guarantee that users will want to change their resolution. People using older monitors may not even be able to use a higher resolution.

Several design techniques relate to screen resolution:

  • Don't assume any particular resolution. Several statistics are available regarding the common use of screen resolution by web users; most suggest the use of 800x600. However, you can't really predict the screen resolution that will be used by your target audience.

  • Design your site to fit well on the smallest resolution and then improve it to fit on higher resolutions as well.

  • If this feature is provided by your web site design software, scale images to a specific percentage of the screen width or to a specific pixel width. It's even better to reduce the graphics in the graphics editor itself.

  • Center graphics and titles. (This practice and the next are helpful with all screen resolutions.)

  • Left-align text.

  • Use web site design software to preview your web pages at various screen resolutions.

In addition to the generic design guidelines discussed in this article, there are several target-specific tips that can be useful in e-businesses. See my next article, "Designing E-Business Web Sites, Part 2: Designing for a Specific Audience."

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