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The Best Dimensions for a Website

One of our most popular articles is "What is the Optimal Width for a Website?". This led me to think about the other dimensions of a website as these are equally important and often misunderstood.

The size of your website is measured in pixels, not millimetres or inches

This is the first important fact which you need to grasp when thinking about the dimensions of your web page. Computer screens come in many sizes, even more so now that we have netbooks and web enabled smartphones. It is instinctive to think about the size of your web page in terms of the screen that you use and it is therefore tempting to think about the measurements in direct relation tot he computer screen that you normally see.

For example, you might ask your web designer to make the font slightly smaller in order to fit more information on the screen without the need to scroll down. The designer's reaction might be that this would not be recommended because whilst you can read the text quite clearly on your screen, it might not be as readable to someone with a screen of a more intense resolution.

For example, text on a 19 inch screen of 1680 pixel width will look much smaller than text on a 23 inch screen also 1680 pixels wide. However, another 23 inch screen which is 1920 pixels wid will look pretty similar to the 10 inch screen referred to earlier. So here we have two 23 inch screens on which the text looks completely different.

Don't worry about scrolling down

Another objective of people who do not fully understand this concept is to ask the web designer to ensure that a certain amount of information is viewable on the screen at the same time. They may go even further and say that they do not want the user to have to scroll down to read the web page. This is not a practical objective. People wih Netbooks have very little horizontal space on their small screens whereas people with very large monitors will have plenty of space. The truth is that scrolling down a web page is perfectly natural for most people. That is why most mice have a scrolling wheel, to make this task so much easier.

You may be delighted when you persuade your designer to squash everything to the top so that you can see everything at once on your screen, only to be disappointed to see that your friend has to scroll down because they have a lower resolution screen. It is a battle you can never win. TIme spent in making the website look great and to have useful and relevant content is time much more worthwhile spent.

Also bear in mind that those people with lower resolution screens will be much more accustomed than you in scrolling down to read a web page. They will already be used to it.

The Technical Bits

When you go into the control panel to create your own website with AB Publish, you will find that there are four options for the width of your screen. Here is how they break down:

Summary

You should be worried to a certain extent about the dimensions of your web page but once this is established and you accept the fact that it looks different on various types of screen, this will leave you time to concentrate on more important things like clear easy navigation and great content.

Tue 31 May 2011 10:12:05

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