Optimal width for 1024px resolution?

Cameron talks about the move from 800×600 to 1024 and beyond.

Let’s face it: The jump from developing for 800×600 to 1024×n is inevitable; not only inevitable, but just around the corner, too. Many of you are considering the jump. Some of you have already leaped. I suspect that some time in 2007 most of us will knock out comps optimized for 1024px resolution rather than 800px if we’re not doing so already.
But perhaps just as important as when it will happen is how: What’s the proper width for a layout optimized for 1024?
With 800×600 it’s easy: Account for browser chrome and scrollbars (usually 40-50px) and then use as much of the remaining space as possible. This usually means a layout width of 750-760px.
If we use the same logic for 1024, browser chrome is still the same, so that leaves us with 974-984px as the “ideal”? width. However, many users (including myself) don’t browse full screen, especially as display resolution in increased. Almost as if there’s an inverse relationship between browser width and display resolution ”” as the display gets wider, the browser width gets smaller (proportionately).
Additionally, in a time we all are, or should be, considering grid usage in layouts, is a random number like 974 an optimal number for dividing a layout into its necessary elements ”” sidebar(s), main content area, and so on? Fluid/liquid layouts are another issue, but even those have to be optimized for a minimum width.

CNUK and GNU are already larger-than-800px sites.

2 thoughts on “Optimal width for 1024px resolution?

  1. Rick Hurst

    Hi Matt – personally i’ll still be hanging on to 800(760ish)px max width for as long as I can for the sake of devices like the nokia 770. I know this will only account for the tiniest minority of users but it is *so* nice to be able to browse the majority of websites on a truly portable device with no horizontal scrolling, and not having to settle for a stripped down PDA version of the site. My money would be on more devices with 800px max width appearing over the next few years, (although not on me having enough dispoable income to buy one!)

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