The Fold & Screen/ Browser Resolution… in 2010
Been working with a client recently that wanted to make sure the content was above “the fold”. The mythical fold and the idea that people don’t or won’t scroll down are nonsense for a start. It’s like saying people don’t turn pages in a book. If the content is of interest to the user, and you draw them with a good content hierarchy. You then have a captive audience and they will work with the medium you given them to use – providing it is user friendly and familiar… In the case of scrolling, scroll bars and up and down arrows are a stable part of computer usage and have been for as long as I can remember… which is just before the Commodore Amiga 500+. The shouldn’t have to scroll idea is only relevant if you have a some kind of site that screams for a full screen button because it’s content is more visually engaging in the style of an interactive video or game based site… something more like what you see on www.thefwa.com. Also what with all the browser plugins people pointlessly install; the browser real estate you have can’t be guaranteed because there can be so many extras in the browser frame pushing the main window content further down.
So the client wanted content to be above the fold… “Which fold? What screen resolution should we work to?” i asked. I don’t know was the answer… you tell me. What a weird situation. The client is there looking at the design telling me it should all be above the fold but they don’t know where that fold would be to know where it is above the fold or not. So how and why can we having this discussion? This really made me question the integrity of the feedback and the person giving it. The answer to to the question should be at best… “well on user testing and research we have found our customer base on average use computers with and X by X screen resolution” or at worst ” let’s base it on the general average screen resolution”. The result i got was “lets design to 1024×768″. Ok fine… I had anyway. And i’m sure this has been the standard size to design to for the last 3 to 4 years or so. The page design I had done worked for that resolution in width.
But this situation got me thinking. In the last couple of years we have seen, firstly more people buying laptops than desktop PCs, and secondly both are more and more likely to have higher resolutions and a wider screen proportion to what we designed to 4 years ago. So I thought I’d do some research into what the current resolution most people are using is and www.w3schools.com delivered the goods as usual.
1024×768 is still in the picture but comes in second to anything higher… maybe a little bit vague. Because higher comes a lot but that is because we now have widescreen monitors etc.
Here is what high covers-
|Higher than 1024 x 768 screen resolutions|
|Resolution||% of Total|
Now i’m not sure what to make of the information.. with resolutions including 1366×768, 1280×768, and 1152×864. It feels like the average height to please everyone would be still in keeping with a 1024×768 ideal. But all these high resolution stats point out that we should play with more width in our web designs, at worst maybe up to 1152×864. Not sure that is right though. But maybe this wider resolution is maybe why we have seen a greater number of horizontal navigation site in the last year. All i do know is.. the fold idea is rubbish. Good content hierarchy, used on good content to start with are the most important things. I’m done.