Designing sites with screen resolutions in mind

Chip Oglesby bio photo By Chip Oglesby

One of the strongest features in Wordpress is the ability to change your site design as often or little as you please.

When you design your site, do you consider your readers’ wants and needs, or do you pick a design based purely on aesthetics?

One important thing to take into consideration when designing a site is monitor resolution.

If you’re using an analytics program like Google Analytics, it’s pretty easy to see screen resolution size. But this includes all traffic to your site. We want to focus on a unique segment of visitors: the most engaged visitors.

By creating a custom segment in Google Analytics, we can create a profile of users who stay on our site for at least three or more minutes. This allows us to look at users with a higher degree of engagement then fly-by visitors.

Take a look at the graphic below: Designing for screen resolution

We can easily see that the majority of users who stick around on our site for at least three minutes has a monitor resolution of 1280 x 800. That’s an average size resolution for a 15 inch notebook computer. Users with 1280 x 800 account for 19.34% of total site visits for this segment.

Look below that and you’ll see that I have a pretty dedicated group of visitors with a screen resolution of 800 x 600. Yikes! They account for 8.36% of traffic that stays for more than three minutes.

You could easily ignore them and go with a layout that’s 900 pixels wide, but you would be ignoring a decent percentage of my traffic. As you can tell from the Avg. time on site and Bounce Rate, if this were an e-commerce site, this traffic would be pretty coveted. So I have to pick a design that balances a clean modern feel and looks good in browsers from 800 x 600 and higher.

You don’t always have to sacrifice good design to please everyone. You just need a starting point for what’s acceptable and you can build up from there.