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Writing for Multiple Resolutions

Site Design Optimization Recommendations

Author: Jim Stiles



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Optimizing Your Site:

Overview and Introduction:

One of the most common questions I receive from web developers concerns the issue of different visitor screen resolutions, or more importantly, how to overcome this long-standing issue. Many client-side browser issues have been overcome, or at least partially alleviated, using a mixture of Javascript, Cascading Style Sheets and HTML. This method is often called Dynamic Hypertext Markup Language, or DHTML.

What DHTML can not do however, is to force your site visitors to use a specific screen resolution for their browser viewing. No matter how pretty and nice your layout looks, it is going to change depending on the size and resolution of the visitor's screen.

All designers are aware of this. Most simply ignore it, while others place "best viewed in. . ." warnings or suggestions on their site. This only advises the visitor that the designer has given up on trying to please their audience. Later in the article, I discuss why this never works and should be removed from websites.

More experienced designers often design for the standard 800x600 resolution and fill in the gaps with white space. What this does is tell the technologically advanced visitors that they are not as important as the "common" site visitor. Not a good idea, seeing as they are more apt to purchase your product(s).

On the other hand, Professional web designers are using more innovative methods designed to give all their site visitors the same viewing experience, regardless of their browser or resolution preferences.

The purpose of this article is to stress the importance and necessity for developing structured, cross-browser, multi-resolution designs for your site visitors. I will explain some of these innovative methods, provide examples for each method and include recommendations for accomplishing this goal.


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