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If you had to design for 1280 without using fluid or responsive design (project constraints), what width would you set the design to be? For example, a set width of 1140 should allow enough gutter space to accomodate various browser sizes. Would designing to 1280 be acceptable considering the new minimum resolution is 1280?

More context:

  • Audience skews older (travel industry)
  • Tends to research multiple sites at one time which leads me to believe multiple windows/tabs
  • Don't have access to screen resolution for our audience (yet)

What is the accepted practice?

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Can you be clear about what you are asking? Do you want to know the ideal resolution in the 1280x800 range? – rk. May 21 '13 at 21:23
"new minimum resolution is 1280" = what do you mean by that? As for your context of being an older audience and trends towards viewing multiple sites, I'd say 1280 is a rather odd extreme to choose. – DA01 May 21 '13 at 21:52
I mean that usage statistics indicate that a minimum resolution width of 1280 means it is the new standard as opposed to 1024. – lineplay May 22 '13 at 0:17
When I read the title I thought it was about designing something for the year 1280... – PhonicUK May 22 '13 at 13:58
Haha, for the year 1280! – lineplay May 22 '13 at 21:22
up vote 4 down vote accepted

1280 is quite popular as a resolution today but that doesn't mean you get such a large viewport. It's going to depend on your market.

If you have an existing site, I would run some analytics on your most common viewport sizes before going with such a wide site. There are tools out there to give you a heat map on viewed area. That can really go a long way toward understanding what your customers are seeing. You could also just run a script to record the port size on page load.

If you don't have a site to measure from, go take a look at your competition. If you have some reasonably successful ones, there's a good chance they didn't dive into their current template without consideration for width.

All that said, I wouldn't go above 1080 without some really good data to support it.

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