While working on a website, I asked a friend what his monitor size was. He said his monitor was 32" but added that the size of the screen does not matter in web design, It's the resolution and that "It's fairly safe to say now that everything ought to look good from 1080p down to mobile browsers". I've been using tools like http://quirktools.com/screenfly which has lists of monitor sizes along with resolutions. The monitor drop down with the list of monitor sizes confused me a little because I thought for example where you can select 10" 1024 X 600, I thought the 10" meant that 1024 X 600 was typical of 10" monitors so asking my friend what monitor size he had would give me a good idea of what his viewing experience might be like thinking there are typical resolutions for screen sizes. Was I wrong? Also, how would you design to also accommodate such large screens?

  • Hi Brandon, welcome to UX.se! I am not able to understand your question. Do you want a rule of thumb for screen resolution you should be designing for? Or, do you want to know how to design for large screen displays?
    – rk.
    May 2, 2013 at 4:15
  • I wanted to know if asking my friend what his monitor size was, was a bad way of determining whether or not he'd be able to see the site the way I would want it to be seen assuming that a 32" monitor would have a resolution far greater than any I've designed for with media queries. In addition, I'd like to know how to design to accommodate such large screens.
    – Brandon
    May 2, 2013 at 4:22
  • Look at this question ux.stackexchange.com/questions/6929/common-screen-resolution for common screen resolution. And unless you are designing for television or wall displays, you do not need to design for bigger displays individually.
    – rk.
    May 2, 2013 at 4:25
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    "see the site the way I would want it to be seen" = that's not how web design works. You can't dictate how they see your site, you can merely suggest what how they see your site. Always remember that the end-user has a lot of say in how they look at your site, so try to accomodate that when you can (such as making sure the site works on a wide variety of browser sizes.)
    – DA01
    May 2, 2013 at 6:54
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    Also, completely ignore the physical measurements of the monitor. a) they are irrelevant as the number of pixels are what is important b) most monitors can be set to different resolutions c) it's no the screen size as much as the browser size that's important (which can be pretty much any size)
    – DA01
    May 2, 2013 at 6:55

1 Answer 1


Short answer - yes you are wrong. There isn't a good relation between the physical size of a display and the resolution of that display.

For example - iPhones 4S has the same physical screen size as an iPhone 3 - but double the resolution.

In turn there isn't a good relation between the resolution of a display, and the amount of screen you have available within a browser. Not everybody browses with windows maximised - especially on large displays.

You can maybe extract some rough rules of thumb - but they're going to be wrong a lot.

I'd have a google around terms like "responsive web design" - they'll give you some pointers on how you can approach designing for different resolutions.


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