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Does a business class web app need to support 800×600?

Does a web application need to support the folks still at 800×600? I ask because I’ve been designing my web application for 1024×768 and I’d hate to have to rethink some things just to support a minority.

But then again, they say 11% still use the lower resolution. Ugh, so much to think about.

Update: Kyle at Warpspire has expanded on this topic, go read his article called Jumping Ship.

By Chris Tingom

Principal of Tornado Design, a Phoenix, AZ based web consultancy

13 replies on “Does a business class web app need to support 800×600?”

We develop applications for business only use all the time and have been building them to 1024×768 for years now. One of our applications is used by all the schools in our county, 600 of them and they all run at 1024 or greater.

I think you’ll find that the 11% running lower resolutions are not businesses.

We always build our apps using tableless design (XHTML and CSS only). We have taken the approach that we need to cover our behinds and CSS only pages allow us to do quick tweaks. Inline styles are a sackable offense in our office!

Personally I think 1024 is the maximum, we have tried larger resolution designs and found it had to fill the extra space.

It depends on who you’re builing this for specifically. To say “business class”, is too vaque.

If you’re building this for a younger audience, say 18 – 50 (50’s the new 30, you know) or in “the” industry (IT, web, graphics…) then I’d say you’re good going larger than 800.

If you’re targeting an older crowd, folks that are generally not tech savvy or the corporate world, then I’d go 800 or smaller.

In my experience in building web-based training modules (web apps) for businesses, the preponderance of my audience were using — or had no difficulties with — an 800 x 600 layout.

Come on Chris, you know the answer to this. 11% is a HUGE number of people. You don’t want to ever lose 11% of the market just because you think people shouldn’t still be at 800×600.

I am in agreement with Josh – the whole point of a business app is muted if you ignore that 11% (I still dispute this as a valid percentage as there are so many variances out there). What you think isn’t important it’s what the market uses and does not what you think people should be doing. I’d never knock out any percentage if it was easy to include as just supporting a slightly lower resolution. Think also this is not always the native resolution – think about how many times you actually browse in full screen mode on your computer – I know that is rare for me and most are the same. You could have a resolution to make gamers pass out in glee at the sheer size – but only be using a small percentage of your screen real estate.

I am 100% with James on this. I just can’t see businesses running resolutions of 800×600, especially those that are using web applications. For at least the last 3 year PCs here in the UK have come with 1024×768 as standard.

BUT, I can see how accessibility is can get in the way, you need to cover all bases.

Is the application only to be used on a PC/MAC?

It depends on your target audience. For instance a recent application I built was targeted at a broad range of users, including small services companies (heating & cooling companies) who have not had a reason to upgrade their hardware for years. So, we had to go with 800×600.

If you are building a ‘Web 2.0’ app you are pretty much guaranteed 1024×768 will be the minimum resolution used by your users.

The most interesting stats go to W3Schools, who appear to be getting 20% at 800*600 (it has been dropping steadily by 10% per year).

Given the stats are for their own website, one wonders if it is all those web developers checking out designs at 800*600…

I seriouslty doubt that 11% of your client base will be using 8×6. Consider first your demographic. Probably most poeple who are technologically sophisticated enough to use a time tracking system are not going to be using that low of a resolution. 11% refers to the entire world of Internet users and you’re only concerned with your demographic. So you might only be talking about 1% of your total user base who get horizontal scroll bars and so what. They deserve the inconvienience.

Don, you have a very valid point. That is that those 11% could very likely be partially overseas. The basic premise is that they will represent a smaller part of my client base.

If you’re aiming for the business class, stick with 800×600 or liquid. These people might be doing more than using your app or browsing the Internet, and prefer to not maximize their windows. Multitasking and relying on the Windows taskbar is c*ap; we keep our windows at 800 pixels wide to see all the open windows no matter high the screen’s resolution is.

I’ve worked at several businesses who recently switched to flat screen monitors. To save money, they often got Dell monitors with a resolution max that was one size up from 800×600. But, as someone mentioned, lots of people don’t like to have their browsers or apps fullscreen. These were not small businesses, but major corporations in retail & insurance.

Unfortunately, the 8×6 is here to stay…

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