Standard App Screens

I recently blogged about how when you are at home you should have the most screen real estate as possible to make that experience great. However I now want to take a look from a different perspective and that has more to do with the fact that just because you have a huge screen does not mean you have to use it.

Now I had to buy a 22” screen recently purely so I could run an app that had the temerity to require a minimum of 1024 pixels in the vertical. Now they did not have to do this, and it is pretty much bad screen design to require such an outlandishly high pixel count in that direction and not offer a scalable experience down to the more normal levels. What is more normal levels though? Is it 768 pixels or 600 pixels in the vertical?

There used to be a time when applications were designed to work in 640×480 pixels, but I do believe we are now past that. Then they moved on to 800×600, just about the time when the Internet stated to get real big and so design aims of websites also began to assume that the lowest common denominator was 800×600 as well. In more recent times many app vendors and websites have begun to assume that they can have 1024×768 pixels and this was fine until 15 months ago.

701f-thumbThis was when the first netbooks began to appear, and those first EeePC 4Gs were 800×480 pixels with scrolling/scaling software to cope with up to 800×600 pixels, which is where I started to really notice that the 1024×768 pixel screen size was pretty much assumed by so many. That Asus though was a bit of a one off, and since the beginning of the year with the 9xx series machines, the MSI and Acer machines it has been pretty much standardised that netbooks have 1024×600 pixel screens.


When running a number of applications, I have received a number of pop-ups when starting applications like Google Earth that state that I will have a ‘reduced experience’ because of my screen resolution. In addition, the number of websites where I basically see only the main banner, adverts and navigation bar and about 2 or 3 lines of content have is many. So what will happen now? Will the availability of netbooks with screen sizes of 1024×600 pixels roll back designers of applications and websites to assume that is the lowest common denominator now?


widescreen-thumbI certainly hope so, as to assume that you can use the large screen resolutions also gets into the way of some of the best bits of having a multi/large monitor setup – laying out the screen so I can use multiple applications to their fullest.