How Big is Your Browser?

, Tuesday, October 23rd, 2007

I wrote back in March about how to decide what width your website design should be. The decision usually comes down to what we know about the audience in question, and what size monitor and resolution they are likely to use. In the best cases, we have actual data for the specific audience in question to go on, but that data can be sometimes be hard to come by.

Maximizers per OS

Adding a wrinkle to the question is that, as more and more people start using larger monitors, they are not all necessarily going to maximize their browser to fill the entire screen. Some people will be resizing their browsers to either make more room for other windows, or to exercise more control over the width of pages that they read.

While I continue to hunt for a more reliable reporting of these numbers, I found this article from Roger Johansson following up an informal survey of visitors to his blog 456Breast.com in which he found some interesting data about how his readers browse the web.

Thomas Baekdal conducted a similar experiment, but used javascript to collect the information from three different sites rather than a survey. His numbers are a bit different, but the trend seems to hold pretty solid that Mac users are more likely than Windows users to reduce the size of their browsers from the maximum, and that as monitor sizes (and resolutions) get higher, people become more likely to do so.

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