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Is it time to move beyond 960? Not yet

Friday, April 24, 2009 { 7 Comments }

Yesterday Cameron Moll in his post asked – "Is it time to move beyond 960?"

Probably not yet.


Because there are still around 40% of users using 1024px monitors. We can NOT ignore that fact.

Maybe after few years when very big majority will have 1280 or bigger monitor then we can think about changing the 960px who has become standard for fixed design.

What will be the number new number to replace 960px?

I already said two months ago in my "The Golden Grid" post.

The number is 1200px

The number 1200 is divisible by 2,3,4,5,6,8,10,12,15,16,20,24,25,30 …
Also this number can generate clear and more compressible numbers like (100px for 12 column, 75px for 15 columns, 200px for 6 columns)

Look at this table

This means you can generate symmetrical web site with 4 columns(4 X 300px) or asymmetrical with 3 columns (3 X 400px) or 30 columns(30 x 40px).

You will probably say: But who needs 30 columns web site? Is it 1200px just to big?
You are right 1200px Is very big, but only if you are using 12px font!

Oliver Reichenstein and Wilson Miner sad before me Internet is not a Book!

We can finally drop 12px as standard and use 16px like default .
Also 1200px can open new forms of multi column grid design. More space can be used for more columns.

I’m not saying that then we all should switch to bigger fonts and grid design I’m saying don’t be afraid to change and experiment with new things.

Panta rei os potamòs

7 Responses to “Is it time to move beyond 960? Not yet”

  1. // Blogger Unknown // 4/24/2009

    I'm a non-designer and I keep wondering...

    why not use a tiny bit of Javascript to query the size of the window you're displaying in, and adjust to taste - maybe switch between small, medium and wide style sheets?

    Speaking strictly as a consumer, it's felt like a step backward to me that many websites now employ a fixed graphic format. I like things to scale when I open up a larger window, that's why I have a large desktop.

    I appreciate that proportionality is a very important element of visual presentation. But honestly, I get irritated when I visit a page that looks like it never gave up its childhood dream of appearing in a magazine, and won't let me see more because of what size someone else's monitor might be.  

  2. // Anonymous Anonymous // 4/24/2009

    I've actually come to be against fluid-width for most things web. There are a couple reasons:

    - Generally speaking, I don't run my browser maximized on my 1900 resolution. Even when browsing for information it's not generally the only thing I'm doing. This is especially true if I'm doing development.

    - More importantly ( and irrespective of the first point ) is the *usability*. And I don't mean in the sense of taking up the full width, I mean in terms of user-experience with consuming the content - which to me is the point of the web. Done correctly, a site should be taking this into account when posting their content. Just as it's unproductive to have paragraphs that are 300 lines long, so too does it make it harder to read and consume information when there is only 1 line per paragraph.

    Just my $0.02. I used to really be against fixed-width designs, but the more research I do into how people typically consume information effeciently the more I become against fluid-width.  

  3. // Anonymous Anonymous // 4/24/2009

    The part that most people don't get is that the monitor size assumes that everyone maximizes their browser window when they surf the web.

    That is rarely the case for me and it irritates me when i have to scroll horizontally to view someone's web site because they assume that my browser is maximized.  

  4. // Anonymous Robin Cannon // 4/24/2009

    I switched across to 960px width when the BBC website did - I think they're probably a decent rule of thumb. :)

    I'm also against fluid width websites. I think with a 960px site you're catering well for 1024px width monitors up to more than double that size (with the site still looking solid and proportional). And it takes into account that if you have a 2000+ pixel monitor then it's unlikely you'll have maximised browser windows anyway.  

  5. // Anonymous Natalia // 4/24/2009

    I love the beauty of the 1200 number, but you need information and content to fill it, it sounds great for a portal or a news/magazine site, but for a business site... I can't imagine it.  

  6. // Anonymous Erik Friend // 4/24/2009

    Not so fast!

    Recently, the popularity of Netbooks has risen. Almost all Netbooks have a screen resolution of 1024x600. As more users buy Netbooks and leave their desktops behind, browser widths are likely to DECREASE, not increase.

    Layout widths greater than 960px might make sense on Intranet sites where users are expected to use a desktop computer, but casual viewers are moving in the opposite direction as they adopt Netbooks and Web enabled cell phones with small screens.

    Don't alienate your visitors by assuming they all sit at a desk with 24" widescreens, like us web developers ;)  

  7. // Blogger Vladimir // 4/25/2009

    @Natalia:Yes maybe is true we are used to see business site in certain way. But if we have more horizontal space we will have opportunity to change this.

    @Erik Friend: The monitor size will be always a problem. I have one laptop 1280 x 800 and EEEPC 900 it is 9''. But if 85-90% of your visitors use one kind of monitor you will probably adapt your design to them.Or if you have big budget can make different layout for different monitor size.  

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