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LinkExchange Daily Digest
Moderated Discussion List

List Moderator: Adam Audette
Supported by:LinkExchange
aa@le-digest.com http://www.adventive.com

October 23, 2000 Digest #945

-=Web Design Targets=-
~ Rod Aries

"...by the end of this month we will have uploaded our 10,000th
web site. 99.99% are around 600 pixels in width."



Subject: pixel width - what the big boys do...

In LED #942 Eric Lander proposed that 800 x 600 might be considered the standard for design.

Grant Crowell suggested staying with the 640 x 480 format as the
standard.

Murray Chittick mentioned,

If I choose to "browse" at high resolutions I am particularly put off by sites which are hard coded at a width of 640 pixels with a vast empty space on the right of my screen.

First, addressing Murray's annoyance with 640 width designs, now he can appreciate how people feel who have settings of 640 and try to view 800 or 1024 settings :))

Back to the width issue. Once upon an internet time, we did quite a bit of web design. We were like that old song "Spill The Wine" by Eric Burden. We would take "black ones, round ones, big ones, crazy ones..." We took more than we should and we learned quite a few 'truths' in numerous discussions with owners, marketing departments, next door neighbors, brother-in-laws, back-end developers and whoever else was more of a web design expert than us. 

One of the most common issues we came across was pixel width. We would get into these tortuous discussions - especially with back-end developers; you know the kind that would do their shopping lists and love-making schedules with JavaScript. They knew it all (of course, we did too) and proclaimed, usually, that 800x600 is the standard. If someone came to the site with a 640 setting, then it was probably someone we didn't want, they would say. We would ask then what if the visitor was a CEO on his daughters 640x480 bedroom computer and, after leaving disney.com, visited the clients 800x600 site to get a home loan. 

The "experts" would pull studies out of various places, and we would too. It seems that somewhere between 8-20% was generally found with the 640 format. I would always argue to build between 585 and 640 pixels.

Rather than hurl HTML snippets at each other, we sorta took the back door market study route. We just looked and saw what the big boys were doing. Here is what we found with a few sites by do a "view source" - we compared to what we discovered last April and to today:

Portal April 2000 
pixel width 
October 2000 
pixel width
Yahoo 640 640
AOL 585 585
Microsoft 618 606 (a little shrinkage)
MSN  608 608
Amazon 590 590
Ebay not meaured in April (October table width=600)

So I would offer that as smart as we thought we are, and as smart as those advocating 800x600 think they are, that Yahoo, AOL, Microsoft, MSN, Amazon and Ebay probably were just a bit smarter, and they are all less that 640 pixels.

After more pixel battles than I care to remember, we no longer take any and every company coming to us for web design... in fact we mostly produce our own product now (I only have to argue with my partner). But by the end of this month we will have uploaded our 10,000th web site. 99.99% are around 600 pixels in width. Given this experience over pixels, and everything else that is debated and resulted in 'Exxon Valdez-like' amounts of wine being spilled (page size, hand code vs. HTML editor, flash, music, blink, etc) and noting that while we have done quite a few things right, we have also done quite a few things, umm, the hard way, so we have started our next project: HowNOTtoInternet.com... a checklist of over 750 items that need to be addressed when building a web site - coming soon.

At your service,
Rod Aries
Internet Marketing via Search Portals
http://www.howtointernet.com/

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