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Topic: designing for different sized computers?  (Read 1111 times)
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« on: August 19, 2006 11:09:11 PM »

with designing a website for different sized computers, how would you go about taking it into consideration,,,,,thanks!
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« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2006 10:17:15 AM »

Don't build a site in a particular size. Use a percentage instead of a size.

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« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2006 11:37:24 PM »

I agree with Crafty Chef in that you should go with percentages so that your page will be sized automatically in each individual screen.

If you must go with a size, though, I'd suggest somewhere between 600 to 700 pixels wide. Your site will still fit in full on some lower-resolution screens if you go with that width.

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« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2006 04:44:52 AM »

This is a BIG thing I'm aware of when designing websites. One of my sites has a stats program that collects data on stuff like what browser people are using and even what their screen resolution is. Don't ask me HOW it does that, but somehow it does. I found out that in the last couple of years, the screen resolution of 600x400 has pretty much vanished and the smallest screen resolution is now usually 800x600- and even the percentage of that is decreasing. But it comes up enough to be a significant portion. So I'd design for a minimum of that size.

It's true, that designing using percentages is usually best, but sometimes with the layout you want to use, that's difficult to achieve gracefully. For example, if you want to have an image run across the top of your layout - it won't always fit properly on percentages. I usually design image heavy layouts at 700 pixels wide and center them on the page so that the blank space on each side is balanced no matter what the size of the screen. If it's a layout that percentages can go into, it usually is 80% - 85% of the width. That gives a nice amount of blank space to brek up the busyness too.

Just make sure to test test test your layout on different resolutions to make sure that it works well. I usually just do a mockup of my layout as a single image and view it at different resolutions to make sure that not only is it fitting width ways, but that enough of the info I want fits on the screen before needing to scroll down - just enough to hook the visitor to my site in and keep them there so they do't hit the backspace button.


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« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2006 03:29:09 AM »

Even though folks do use machines with higher resolutions, they will often resize the browser window to a smaller size. As I am typing this, I would say my window is only about 60% of my screen size.

I would recommend whatever finished size you make your site to use what is called a liquid layout. A liquid layout is one that when someone makes the browser window smaller than a full screen the website readjusts itself and still shows in it's entirety and retains the layout. If you resize your window to the maximum width of your screen and then slowly make it narrower; you will see what I mean. (Though, it reaches a certain point and stops resizing - but you should get the idea.) If you use Google Adsense, you will lose a bit of your fluidity as their ad blocks don't resize all that much.

That said, if you are going for one of the more graphic-driven modern looking layouts; you can opt to make a site that isn't all things to all people. Just make sure that you make that choice on purpose rather than by oversight.

Since your original question mentioned computers, that also brings up the point of Mac vs PC and the differences in Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, and all the other web browsers folks use. I have a PC, I've gotten my best results when I test in Firefox (it adheres better to the standards) and then tweak slightly for Explorer. Since I've started doing it this way, instead of the opposite, I have found I get better results on the Mac as well.

If you have a PC and don't have Firefox installed, I would highly recommend you get it. It is free and can be downloaded from the official site or from Google.  As an added bonus, it handles pop-ups and other junk much better than Explorer does.

This topic is one that is frequently discussed on many webmaster forums. The threads are often quite long and sometimes turn somewhat heated.

Another wrinkle is that some folks are now surfing with hand-held devices. My site logs would indicate I've had a few visitors using them. My crafty site doesn't shrink as well as I would like it to mainly because of the Google ads. If you don't plan on using 3rd party content, you may want to test and program to allow folks to make the window quite narrow.

I hope I've been helpful and not just long winded.  Smiley

The best advice anyone can give you is to consider your target audience and consider the level of computing sophistication they have and whether they would tend to have older or newer machines. And if they know how and are willing to resize the window if your site doesn't fit in what they normally use.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2006 05:14:10 AM by itscribe » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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