Over the past few years, the debate over using a liquid vs. fixed layout has heated up. But as we move forward with standard screen resolutions growing larger and larger, the truly important question would seem to be: what will become the new standard, and when?
Even in the past year, it seems 1024 screen resolutions are slowly starting to fade away and the monster monitors are starting to dominate.
Unlike before when 800×600 died down and 1024 took place, this time around the larger screen resolutions seem to be much more scattered in size than before.
As you can see users who are on screens with resolutions 1280×800 or higher are nearing 50%. From 2007 to 2008 alone, this figure increased 10%. It seems that , as technology advances and monitors become cheaper, the rate at which people are purchasing them is picking up quite rapidly.
Stats were collected by:
Taking a Look Back…
Here are some interesting comparisons of when major sites like Microsoft and Apple switched from 800 to accommodate for 1024 users.
But just because the screen resolution becomes bigger, should we design our sites to accommodate the size?
I say no. 1024 ~ 1280 in my opinion is a reasonable range where I feel comfortable scanning for information. Any size larger than that, messages and layouts seem to become disjointed with white space and they lose the power and effectiveness of the original layout intended by the designer.
In my opinion, designing a site fully liquid to accommodate the large monitors would be a bad idea due to the fact that a user should not have to work hard to follow your content from left to right. Just like reading a book or magazine, a proportionate size that is easy to read and consume the information is ideal. I believe using min/max width in your layout is probably the best solution if you choose to give it some flexibility.
Perhaps it’s too soon to do anything different with what we already design for, but I feel this question becomes more important as larger screens become the new standard. Only time will tell… Do you have predictions or thoughts to what resolutions you would consider when designing? Are you feeling ready to move to higher resolutions as well?