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It is conventional wisdom that websites should not show a horizontal scrollbar at 800x600 resolution, which means the max width should be 760 or possibly even less.


Does anybody have any up-to-date statistics on what percent of viewers still use 800x600?


Awstats does not list browser resolution, but my awstats report shows OS usage : 1.5% mac, 3.7% win98, 10.7% unknown, 16.7% win2k, 64.9% xp.

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According to w3schools in July 25% were 800*600.

In Oct 3.2% were Macs.


I always work to 780 myself, is the 760 to cater for a MAC?

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I use Firefox on Windows XP. The maximum width without horizontal scrolling when using a 800 x 600 window is 773 pixels. I think probably 760 is a wise maximum for PC computers.


In some markets, e.g. graphic design, a high proportion of those visiting the website will be using Macs so it is important to get it right for them, if they're using a 800 x 600 window. I believe a prudent maximum in that case is 740 pixels.

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Barry, when I use FF on XP I can see 780 wide with 800*600.


Can you take a look at www.weddingchaos.com/800-600.html and see if you can see the whole right column?


I'm curious as if what you are saying is correct then I have made all my sites too wide!


With respect to MACs if only 3% use MACs and only 25% of them use 800*600 then very few people will suffer from the horizontal scroll at less than 780/760. Factor in the people that mostly use MACs (designers for one) and I doubt they design in 800*600. (of course.. i have no figures to back this up!)


[edit - it seems IE introduces scroll at 780, but is fine at 779]

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Good to see you Mike. :)


I've not seen any recent stats but keep in mind even if users are on a higher resolution than 800x600 they may not surf with their browser maximised.

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Hi rynert,

I can't see the whole of the left column using Firefox on Windows XP at 800 x 600 resolution. Here's a 775 pixel wide web page. Can you see that without a horizontal scroll bar. I can't.


It actually takes a 810 x 600 window to avoid the horizontal scroll bar for my setup.

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If I load that page the no, I can't see it without a scroll, however, if you add a left-margin 0px; then it fits fine.


To fit in IE it also needs the right-margin 0px;


And to fit in NN 6 it needs neither to avoid the scroll, although there is a gap on the left ?!?!


I didn't realise that the browser automatically placed a margin / space / padding around your content. I guess I always specify the margins so never actually encountered the default and therefore never had a problem.

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That's fascinating, rynert. I still get it 2 px too wide even adding the zero left and right margins. I think prudence would suggest taking a few more out just to make sure.

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Have you added this to your CSS?


body {margin:0; padding:0; border:0}


That ought to take care of the few-pixel borders that browsers put around pages by default. Bear in mind, too, that Mozilla's scrollbar is not as wide as others.

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Barry, I saw a horiz scrollbar on that test page, also a leftmargin of several pixels. The leftmargin/marginwidth setting on the page, as well as cellspacing/cellpadding in tables, can be a big influence. Not to mention <ul> tags, which can really throw it off.


My feeling is that if somebody is surfing with the browser window not maximized, then the horizontal scrollbar is not really my problem -- I can't anticipate their window size.


But, for example, if you are using right-hand placement for google tower ads, are you losing clicks and dollars if there is a slight horizontal scroll for 25% of your viewers?


What I am looking for is 3 columns: right col 160, center col 468, gutters 5 pixels (?), which leaves only 122 for the left column -- pretty narrow to get any real information squeezed in there -- if you are going to limit total width to 760 -- and that does not give you any leftmargin/marginwidth, or cellpadding/cellspacing.


Maybe something a little sneakier is in order -- put a 468x60 banner in a table row with wider center column and narrower side columns, then fit the remainder of the center column (text, header graphic, whatever) into a new table with narrower center column, say 420, leaving more room on the sides. You can stack tables, or place a table in a cell colspan=3.


Just a thought.

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I've now added your suggestion on the CSS addition, Diane, but I still get a width of 773 pixels is the maximum I can see with Firefox in Windows XP at 800 x 600. So the 775 px wide web page has a very tiny extra sliver that forces the horizontal scroll bar.

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Those are the choices. You can always go for a much smaller layout.

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Barry, that is odd. Maybe if you want everybody to be happy you have to make it 760 to play safe. On the other hand, and this follows on Mike's point, if you have a horizontal scroll is it a problem in itself, or is it only a problem if content is off the screen?


For example, on my re-design of www.weddingchaos.com I have intentially made the body of the content 780 but there is an extra column down the right for adverts. I believe that if somebody came to my site and saw the horizontal scroll they would scroll once, see there was only adverts there, and just ignore the scroll from that point on (unless they wanted to see the adverts)


In some ways this may even be a positive as the visitor would recognise that I had taken the time to place adverts out of their main field of vision.


Mike, I think this approach may be an idea for what you are planning?

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Good points, rynert. I guess it illustrates that there are no easy solutions. There's lots of different people out there with different hardware, software and ways of picking up impressions.


760 is OK for the 800 x 600 slice that uses PCs. It probably doesn't work for all Mac users depending on what software they're using.


Then finally there's the question of what your visitor may infer from what he or she sees. If I see a typo, I make a mental reservation that this company or individual may not be as reliable as they should be. If I see a very small horizontal scroll bar, do I infer that they were trying but just didn't know enough to get it right?


I guess one final point is that it is screen real estate you're wasting. I have so many toolbars at the top, that I can't afford to lose another horizontal slice at the bottom. However that's the least of the worries here. :)

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Here's another angle: What are we giving up by limiting our display for the convenience of those still using 800x600?


An increasing number of people are using quite large display resolutions, and limited-size web pages look like sad orphans on their displays. How effective are our pages on these browsers?


Quite a number of the more professional websites (i.e., large corporate withs lots of bucks to throw) are using resolution-recognition javascript to customize the page to the display size -- or at least they are using a percentage width figure for tables, which accomplishes the same goal except that fixed-pixel-width graphics (468x60 banners, 160 google towers) can't be squeezed.


Rynert, if advertising revenue is paying the grocery bill, one needs to climb every mountain, tweak every detail to make sure that revenue is maximized. If ads are cpc (cost per click) and the ads are off the screen, are you throwing away part of your paycheck? Plus, if you have cpm advertising (cost per thousand, or pay per display), just like these advertisers usually require "above the fold" or top 1/3 of page placement, one would assume the same advertisers would want their ads to be visible horizontally as well.


I am not sure if this issue will become simpler or more complex with time, as more people get new computers.


Does anybody know a stats program that records viewers' screen resolution? Years ago we setup a javascript page that recorded this data, so I know it's possible (that js file is long gone). It's not a standard item in server logs, like IP, OS and browser type, so stats programs that simply read server logs don't pick it up.


Here's one url that shows something, not quite sure where the stats come from but I assume their site traffic. It shows 800x600 under 10%. There are other interesting stats here too. I think their site may tend to have webmaster traffic, so that influences the figures.



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I'm using Site Meter, which shows Screen Resolution as just one of the many ways you can analyze the traffic. The new Google Analytics also shows Screen Resolution as one of its summaries. In both cases, you have to add code to the pages for which you wish to have the traffic data.

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Mike, my site actually expands to up to 1300 wide for compliant browsers and as far as you like with IE, just sets the minimum at 780.


Less and less people are using 800x600 but enough people, especially when added to those that may use 1024*768 but don't maximise windows, that we should cater for them, but also cater for people on higher resolutions.


It is hard, if not impossible, to make it work for everybody. Indeed, size asside, I had great difficulty in choosing the correct colour for the 'gold' on the site. Some people saw it as brown, others yellow, some gold. Some had TFT, some LCD, some TV, some had brightness up, others down... just impossible to please all1

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Of course the other aspect is that with relative sizing, text may display as very long lines with wide resolutions. That can be difficult to read too. :)

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That's the other question here -- the implied question, if you will.


Not all design layouts lend themselves to filling the screen with stuff. Perhaps it's just me as a designer, but I sometimes find I really enjoy a sparse layout.


And Barry's point is an important one; the readability of lines of text decreases (along with enjoyment) as the lines get too long.

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For me, I have limited time to spend on things that do not generate revenue. I think that using a site such as the sitetrafficstats.com demo area, which (apparently) gives real-time reports of visitors to their website, is good enough for me -- for this issue. They show about 10% using 800x600. Over a period of time, if this number drops to, say, 3%, it may become a non-issue. 640x480 doesn't even show up on these reports any more.


Back in the dot gone era, we had a great group of young wizards pumping out projects. Our shop had some elaborate plans of getting multiple OS + browser + monitor setups as a testing lab, which never completely came to fruition. I had one experience, where a very sharp kid designed a complex front page for the (profitable) resumerobot.com website -- with graphics cut up and re-assembled in tables, javascript recognition built-in for OS, browser and screen resolution. Worked great. Then I made a trip to the mainland and visited a client. Their shop was using netscape at 1152 x whatever -- one combination we had not tested. The graphics were totally broken -- for all 50 workstations in their office. I came back and discarded the complex design. KISS, thank you very much.

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Does anybody know a stats program that records viewers' screen resolution?


I use www.sitestats.com, pretty simple and basic. It does show screen resolutions, but I see conflicting reports on actual screen resolutions everywhere. Naturally much will depend on what your market is or their location I would think.


Our traffic yesterday by country


1 United States 1,954 87.9%

2 Canada 164 7.4%

3 United Kingdom 41 1.8%

4 Australia 16 0.7%


Screen Resolutions:


1 1024x768 (medium size) 1,144 51.5%

2 800x600 (small size) 311 14.0%

3 1280x1024 (large size) 243 10.9%

4 1280x800 102 4.6%

5 unknown 86 3.9%

6 1152x864 84 3.8%

7 1440x900 47 2.1%

8 1280x768 35 1.6%

9 1400x1050 33 1.5%

10 1680x1050 27 1.2%

11 1600x1200 (very large) 19 0.9%

12 1920x1200 16 0.7%

13 1280x854 15 0.7%

14 1280x960 11 0.5%

15 1344x840 9 0.4%

16 1152x768 7 0.3%

17 960x600 5 0.2%

18 640x480 (very small) 4 0.2%

19 1536x960 3 0.1%

20 1152x720 3 0.1%


Last Year


1 1024x768 (medium size) 618 51.0%

2 800x600 (small size) 254 21.0%

3 1280x1024 (large size) 160 13.2%

4 unknown 48 4.0%

5 1152x864 42 3.5%

6 1280x800 17 1.4%

7 1400x1050 16 1.3%

8 1600x1200 (very large) 15 1.2%

9 1680x1050 7 0.6%

10 1280x854 6 0.5%


Two years Ago


1 1024x768 (medium size) 432 52.6%

2 800x600 (small size) 243 29.6%

3 1280x1024 (large size) 65 7.9%

4 1152x864 29 3.5%

5 1400x1050 17 2.1%

6 640x480 (very small) 9 1.1%

7 1600x1200 (very large) 7 0.9%

8 1280x960 3 0.4%

9 1440x900 3 0.4%

10 1280x768 2 0.2%

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I've been watching this thread... I'd like to hear from anyone who wants to weigh in on what screen resolution they would plan for if building a brand new site or doing total redesign on an existing site. Should we still stick with 800x600, go to expanding or assume that 1024x768 is the size to design for?

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On some sites I monitor 1024x768 is roughly 60%, 800x600 20%, 1280x1024 10%. The rest are less than 1%. 1680x1050 is just as rare as 640x480.


I design then, and have done so for at least a year, for 1024x768. I fix it at that width as well. Fluid <768, fixed at and above.


First Barry is right; there is only so much text that is handy to read on one line. On a 21" screen @ 1650x1050 you can easily display two legal letter style pages. To combine those into one supersized document is too much to ask. Who would want to read their newspaper with lines spanning both pages?


Second, Diane's design idea. You make a design with the idea in mind that certain elements appear at certain places. Handling all sizes is just too much.


I like the idea of adding an extra column, as can be seen on some msnbc pages when flipping from 1024 to 800.

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Unless the target audience dictates something else (elderly people for example) I still tend to design for 800x600 - hence the design is around 760 pixels wide.


I've also been working with a fixed design lately - Diane and Ruud are right - many elements are designed to be in certain places not squished for some and stretched for others.

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Even on the very rare occasion when I employ a liquid design, I almost always set the CSS to 744 pixels during the entire layout process so I know everything will fit in that space without creating horizontal scrolling. In most cases, I prefer a fixed-width design and the 744 pixels will be permanent. My sites are typically very text-oriented and I'm too dang old to be squinting at long, long lines of text.


I think the pixel width of the final design, however, is really only part of the equation.


As screen resolutions increase, far more than simply the width of the available screen real estate changes. A 20 inch monitor is still a 20 inch monitor regardless of resolution, so obviously what we're really talking about is everything on the screen shrinking as the screen resolution is increased. The choice of font sizes, white space, images, all of this and more must be a part of deciding the ultimate design, and -- of course -- all of those are determined by purpose and audience.


A so-called elastic design, where all of the containers are defined in terms of ems instead of pixels, is marvelously friendly to use but remarkably difficult to design. In my experience, it's not a decision that can be made late in the process.

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I'm of the opinion the the spread of cheap lcd monitors is more of a problem than catering for different screen resolutions.


I finished a site last week. I was "knocked for six" when I discovered that the sites' colours appeared dramatically different on my clients' "cheap 'n nasty" Flat screen LCD monitor.

Has anyone else had similar experiences ?



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At the moment I design to 770px, I find this is the maximum width that will fit in explorer on an 800x600 resolution, also this seems to work ok on Macs running OS X (whereas OS 9 and below you had to limit to around 740px).


My personal site (see sig) gets most of its visits via sites such as www.cssreboot.com (so not typical visitors compared to more 'mainstream sites')-


1024x768 - 34.08%


1280x1024 - 32.25%


1152x864 - 5.49%


1400x1050 - 5.07%


800x600 - 4.51%


I am noticing a trend in the CSS showcases such as www.cssvault.com where fixed width 770px designs seem to be less popular, and I am personaly thinking the next redesign of my site will be either liquid, or more likely fixed width to fit 1024x768.


Sites such as www.stylegala.com and www.alistapart.com seem to have been designed for 1024x768 and upwards.

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Another issue is laptops -- is there any measure of how many people use them? You are kind of stuck with the screen resolution that the monitor supports. Mine, while nominally 1024x768, shows a touch of horizontal scroll on the stylegala but not on alistapart.

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Ouch! I thought I had designed for 800x600 but advised somewhere (not here) that it was 780 px. As 20% of my visitors are 800x600, must change pronto.


I see 770 px (paranoidandroid) and 760 px (sanity) - any further input on which is better?


Once again, cre8asite forums steer another newbie back on the right path. Thank you!

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This is a 775 wide test page that I created, Renee, to test this stuff:


On Windows XP using the Firefox browser this is just 2 pixels two wide when I resize the window to 800 x 600. So for me, it would need to be 773 pixels maximum. Other browsers and other PC operating systems might vary around this.


On a Mac I believe even more is taken up with scroll bars and padding. So if you believe that's a slice of the audience you want to accommodate, then 760 pixels may well be your maximum pixel width, as sanity suggested.

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At the moment I design to 770px, I find this is the maximum width that will fit in explorer on an 800x600

I agree with paranoidandroid


I think you can go to 772px wide provided you have set your left margin to 1px for left aligned sites



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Mac users at 800x600 are a negligible percentage, IE 6.0 is 90% of users, so 770 px sounds what to go for. Thanks again for all the advice!

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770px does seem to work ok for me, that's with the browser window open to the maximum width, margins set to 0 and taking into account the vertical scrollbar (which probably takes up about 10 - 15px).


On a mac with 800x600 using explorer (least popular Mac browser) with the vertical scrollbar you have slightly less space 765px. While in Safari and Firefox you could probably go to 780px, 770px does seem to cover all bases for both Mac and PC though.

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760 is a little on the smaller side - just happens to be what I used in the last few designs. 770 is probably the widest I'd go.

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I like to go fluid, but rather than having stuff go full width, I might have a 10% margin on either side.


Take a look at my blog for example and try resizing the browser. It can go fairly narrow for desktop machines before breaking at all, and if you're not too fussed about the stuff in the right hand column, it can go a lot narrower. Looks a bit daft with all the margin/padding when very small, but you can still read the content.


Not suitable for all sites, but I've used a similar method in a couple of blog designs and on a couple of wiki's to good effect. It helps reduce the line length a bit when there's more room, but the margin shrinks in proportion to the space availible.

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I'm very impressed with Barry's posts in this thread - I'm amazed at the amount of time he takes to test things - to test things that others would like tested - it's good to see and the information is always useful.


I'm particularly in agreement with his view on losing more screen space to a horizontal scroll bar.


In general, I use a 760px width for my pages as my tests have shown that this permits my chosen scren layout to display on most deskop and laptop machines.


This leads me to a point which may or may not be interesting and which is linked directly to nuts' comment (not easy to say without a smile).


An increasing number of people are using quite large display resolutions


True - but an increasing number of people are also using mobile telephones to access the internet.


So the question is - should we now forget the 800px width limit and aim for womething larger - 1024, perhaps? Or should we forget the 800px width limit and aim for something smaller? (sorry, I don't know how many pixels an average telephone or PPC machine displays).


Judging by my stats, I see around 25% of people are still using 800x600 - could be due to mes niches, but I'm not changing my sites as long as I don't need to.


I can't do multi-css thingies - it causes headaches and, then, related complaints :)

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Opera allows you to zoom pages, fit to window width (makes a 1024x768 design fit in 800x600) go full screen, and also view sites in small screen mode which shrinks the site to about 260px wide.


The beauty of CSS layouts is that if you turn the styling off you do in fact have a site which is capable of being viewed on portable devices.


The problem is that both ends of the scale are becoming further apart, designing a site for both 260px wide at one end of the scale and then designing for 1600px seems impossible.


The only thing you can do is design for your target audience, however big or small they are :)

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Thanks for the kind words, mcs. :)


The important thing, I believe, is to design for the typical user. That typical user won't be zooming or doing anything else fancy. It should just work for them as it comes up on their screen. .. however big their screen is as paranoidandroid said.

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Working on a re-design (again) of www.healthcarehiring.com, and I am pushing the width limits. On the advice of google adsense optimization team, I have moved 160x600 tower ads to the left side of the page, which leaves my table of contents on the right. If this is slightly cut off on 5% of viewers, so be it, at least I am not compromising revenues.


My problem is that (1) there is too much content and (2) 468x60 banner plus 160x600 tower equals 628 width, which with a 760 page width only leaves 132 on the right side.


I could stretch to 770, but also subtract some kind of column gutter for readability.


Is anybody paying attention to current screen resolution user statistics? Of course this varies case by case. A substantial portion of my users tend to be business & professional researchers, and I think they would tend to have up to date equipment.


Is it reasonable to assume that viewers using win98 are more likely to have 800x600 resolution than win2k or xp? My February webstats show the following:


Windows XP / 3469096 / 61.3 %

Windows 2000 / 1044393 / 18.4 %

Unknown / 674075 / 11.9 %

Windows 98 / 230031 / 4 %

Mac OS / 07292 / 1.8 %

Windows Me / 64931 / 1.1 %

FreeBSD / 31973 / 0.5 %

Windows NT / 25216 / 0.4 %

Linux / 5734 / 0.1 %

Windows 95 / 2986 / 0 %


For myself, I have switched several monitors to 17" acer al1714 lcd, which cost about $245 and give almost the diagonal measurement of a 19" crt. I use 1024x768.

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Is anybody paying attention to current screen resolution user statistics?


I can only speak for myself -- I don't.


However, I do adhere to the principle of designing for the lowest common denominator. I think it's a matter of tolerance. If you can 'tolerate' x% of your users who are put off by a potential right scroll (and some 'so' put off that they'll wind up leaving your site, as a result), then that's a decision you'll have to make. Whatever the numbers are, unless "x%" is so miniscule that, in your mind, it no longer matters - in my view, it does matter.


Why take a chance? Play around with it a little. I'm sure you can fit it all in. :)

Edited by Respree

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