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Size Does Matter

mobile phones at different sizes.


13.7.2012

Moving Screens

My first mobile phone was a brick. My second wasn’t much different. But over the years my phones shrank and shrank to my forever favourite, the Nokia 8210. Then smartphones appeared. Gone were the days of WAP, now we had real browsers and beautiful touchscreens, and apps, lots of apps. Phones became big again.

The iPhone 3G had a 3.5 inch screen and 320x480 resolution. The iPhone 4 retained the 3.5 inch screen but jumped in resolution to 640x960. The Samsung Galaxy S II has a 4.27 inch screen. The Galaxy Note has a 5.3 inch screen. The Playstation Vita (not a phone) has a 5 inch screen... I could go on, but you get my point.

My source ‘stat counter’ puts world wide mobile internet usage up to the 10% mark of all web traffic. Other sources put it higher than that. As mobile contracts end and smartphones come down in price, the take up will be obvious. The web in your pocket is here to stay.

But then it’s never that simple. Tablets are back again (that’s right, they existed before the iPad).

The latest iPad has a 9.7 inch display running at a staggering 2048x1536 resolution. A plethora of other tablets have and have been released to market, with the Amazon Fire a budget option for consumers. That runs a 7 inch screen at 1024x600 resolution.

‘The PC is dead.’ Not likely.

People are still using computers though, but now consumers are purchasing bigger or smaller laptops and changing the settings on those laptops. Five years ago a website would have been designed for a resolution of 1024x768 and still are in many cases. But worldwide browser stats indicate that only around 17% of browsers use that resolution. The most common computer resolution is 1366x768 at a meagre 21%. There’s half a dozen other sizes thrown into the mix to make up the full set with the majority of those sizes being larger.

So phones may have got bigger, but we’re not only using phones. We’re using tablets, games consoles, e-readers, desktops, laptops, and who knows what in the next few years. The future isn’t a computer in your pocket. It’s a 32 inch screen at home, a 4 inch screen on the bus, a 16 inch screen at work and a 9 inch screen for meetings – and a whole host of resolutions for those screens. We’re not seeing more of one size, just more sizes.

So how do we design and build websites for this? How has the digital industry tackled the problem and have they succeeded?

Leave your comments on our blog and I’ll come back with my own thoughts in a couple of weeks.

Written by Stephen Williams, Senior Digital Producer - New Zealand
 

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