The idea of optimizing my sites for a wider screen resolution or a broadsheet layout as I call it has been on my mind for years. Obviously what's been holding me back is the persistence of 1024x768. In November 2007, 1024x768 had 46% market share. As of may this year, it is down to roughly 24%. Lately 1024x768 is losing roughly 3/4% per month give or take. I would imagine that 1024x768 will be below 20% in a few months.
You can see current stats here:
Having said that, more users now have default screen widths that are greater than 1024x768. Obviously there are a huge variety of screen resolutions, but to me it seems that new minimum width that has the greatest market weight is 1280px. So this is the width I have in mind as a new default.
My thought is that as more and more people are now using higher screen resolutions, we're beginning to reach a tipping point for a move to optimize for higher resolutions. My personal laptop has 1600x900 and I find it more convenient to have pages enlarged through my browser. Every time I visit a new site, I generally bump up the size a couple of notches. This is on top of the fact that I already have large fonts. I'm not visually impaired and have perfect vision, yet I feel that the default design sizes for many websites look small on high resolution screens. I think we're nearing the point where designing for 1024px width is becoming an inconvenience for a greater share of the audience than it might be a convenience for. I've already considered a fluid width layout and many sites just don't lend themselves well to a fluid layout width, and even a fluid width can look bad on large monitors.
The benefits for the larger layout are being able to fit more content and advertising on pages rather than having a large amount of blank and wasted space for the increasing number of people with high resolution monitors. I also find that wider pages allow for the comfortable use of larger fonts.
I notice that Scandinavian countries already seem to be optimizing for larger screen widths.
For example the Swedish tabloid:
I was already planning on redesigns for several sites in the next few months and wondering what kind of opinions people have about redesigning with a broadsheet layout sooner rather than later. Also, is anyone else out there doing this or planning on doing this? I'm inclined to just do it and damn the torpedoes, but I most interested in just hearing as many points of view as I can before I make the leap.
[edited by: ergophobe at 6:26 pm (utc) on Jun 21, 2010]
[edit reason] oops - post restored to original format as best as possible [/edit]