Monday, 8 May 2000
Which screen size ( should a web developer aim at? In the SUMit HTML course I emphasise to my pupils that screen size is unknown.

Being a website constructor you're clue less about the kind of screen that your use is working with ( The average screensize ( does not help much.

It could be an old laptop, with a tiny screen of 600x800. Another user might experience a cinema view on a giant 22 inch screen, with a multitude of pixels. You don't know. So, web developers shouldn't aim for anything.

It's ever so cute to see a web developer cluelessy consider their own configuration, with their own font type and size, as the world wide standard. They work with the most modern equipment available. It's hard to imagine for them that there are still many folks out there with a smaller screen. However, if you have learned to think E-commercially, you would not want to skip any customers.

Yeah, I know, those 600x800 screens are old-fashioned, and get more and more scarce. The average screen size grows. There are plenty of pixels around. Or, aren't there? Your website might be on a large screen, but in one out of many small windows. So, you still don't know.

Perform a test. Resize the window in which you're reading this Nut's weekly. You'll see that the browser reformats the text. This Nut remains well readable, even in a rather small window.

It's funny to see there is a counter move going on. Screens are getting smaller. Your website might seen on something else than a computer monitor.

  • Somebody might be viewing your site on a web-TV. De sharpness of a TV image is far worse than a computer monitor.
  • WAP technology ( allows surfing on a small mobile phone, with a very small screen.
  • It's just a matter of waiting to see a stock messages on your watch or ring.
Some users do not use screens at all. A browser for car drivers for example, which generates speech from HTML. Zero pixels, just like an old-fashioned phone!
    A number of advises:
  • Learn to live with the limitations and possibilities of HTML (
  • Make sure a screen is pleasant to read on a 640x480 screen. It will do fine on a bigger one too.
  • Keep all definitions variable, suitable for any screen. Leave the formatting job to any browser.

Till next week!