Website size re Computer Monitor


MGF, Master Grumble Framer
Feb 17, 2006
Can anyone give a bit of technical insight into this issue?

I'll use John Ranes' website as an example.

I have a 17" LCD monitor set at 1280 x 1024 and when I open John's site it's just a little over half the screen wide.

Many websites are full screen but some such as John's are small.
I designed my site for 600 x 800 screen resolution – the smallest that I believed that many people use. When I change the monitor to 1280 x 1024, my pages gets lost, too.

But, if you design for the larger format, and view it on a smaller screen, your last few buttons in a horizontal or vertical button bar may get hidden and the scroll bar is nowhere to be seen, so people will never see them.

In nearly all browsers, you can always resize the page upwards, but sometimes not downwards since the “larger/smaller” button is hidden. Text and tables will resize, but not images usually, so if you load an image designed for the big screen, it may occupy so much room, there is nothing left for anything else if someone has a dinky monitor (like mine).

Perhaps newer .html coding addresses this problem, but older versions have not.

Most likely the web sites that appear much smaller like the one you refer to, were created at settings of resolutions less than yours such as 800x600. The opposite will occur - if someone creates a website at 1280 x 1024 and it fits their screen perfectly it will appear larger than life on a 800x600.
Webmasters can design to specify the behavior of how this works. (percentage of screen/table to fill vs a fixed pixel size) In John's case, it's a big image of products and looks best with a fixed size.

The grumble is a good example of a site that auto scales to fill the size of the browser/window. The text will auto wordwrap to fill all available space, etc.

Text can also be scaled up or down by holding the CTRL key on the keyboard, and spinning the mouse wheel. (at the browser level) Images will stay the same.