Dont assume full screens at high resolution

Some web users still have small screens or work at low resolution. Those of us who work on large screens at high resolution - and I'm looking at what I'm typing on a 24-inch monitor at a screen resolution of 1900 x 1200 -tend to forget that most of the people who use what we develop aren't working in that environment. Most of your site visitors are probably working at 1024 x 768; but a sizable minority are still using 800 x 600 screens. (Summer 2006: About 20 percent of web users are still at 800 x 600.)

Furthermore, even sophisticated business people and research scientists don't all work with small type on large screens. In a field study with employees of a large health information group in which everyone had monitors that could display at least 1024 x 768, the client and I were surprised to see that many employees had changed their displays to lower resolutions or large type. They were seeing much less on the screen at one time than we had assumed.

Many expert web users open multiple windows and let those windows share screen space. They don't maximize the windows; they see only part of your web page at one time.

These realities are all good reasons not to use most of the upper part of a web page for a large picture that serves only for emotional appeal. Use the space instead for the most important forms or information that people come to your site to get.

For up-to-date information on screen resolutions most people are using, see the web sites I listed in Chapter 2, page 18.

Figure 3-12 People would find it easier to get immediately to the box for tracking shipments if it were higher on the page.

Home pages must balance ( • • 1 branding and work. Does SiX this favor branding so much that it makes the place to start working hard to find?

Most of the form for tracking [ • • 1 shipments is not visible at S^y 800 x 600 - or to people who don't open the window all the way.

Figure 3-12 People would find it easier to get immediately to the box for tracking shipments if it were higher on the page.

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