Monday, 26 April 2010

Google Browser Size tool

How well does your web site show on other people's computers? This question should intrigue everyone who has a web site.

Your own web designer should have ensured that your web site is shown off at its best in all types of browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera, Safari, etc) as well as in all popular screen sizes.

What an old computer using a screen size of 800 x 600 sees could be totally different to that shown on a higher resolution screen using something like 1280 x 1024. (The numbers represent the width and height of the screen, measured in pixels. In general terms, the higher the numbers the larger the screen size and/or the better the resolution or picture clarity).

It is likely that your web designer is using a very large screen, due to the Techie nature of web designers, and they may not fully appreciate that many real world users have smaller screens, which may show much less of your web site at once.

Wikipedia has a table showing the number of current users of monitors of specific resolutions:
Resolution % of Users
Higher than 1024×768 76%
1024×768 20%
800×600 1%
Lower than 800×600 < 1%
Unknown 3%

This suggests that almost everyone now uses a monitor capable of using a resolution of 1024 x 768 or higher, so you should ensure that your website is designed for that resolution. The users of larger screens will still see your web site if it is optimised for 1024 x 768.

By using the innovative Google Browser Size Tool at http://browsersize.googlelabs.com you can see how your web site may look to different people. The main danger is that if you have a "Call to Action" button on your website, can it be easily seen by everybody? People using a smaller screen resolution may find they are unable to see your "Call to Action", so it may be useful to you if it were placed higher up the page on the left.

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