[thelist] Screen Resolution, which to design for?

Barney Carroll barney at textmatters.com
Wed Jan 17 10:38:38 CST 2007

Joel D Canfield wrote:
> regarding 'ever growing sensitivity for ever-dwindling legacy systems' -
> since this conversation began with screen resolution, do you see a
> difference between making your site function on a cellphone or PDA vs.
> having it work at 640x480? (not arguing, considering your final
> statement quoted above)
> that, rather than being backward-looking, would strike me as
> particularly forward-looking, making a site which, one way or another,
> works (I'm not saying 'looks pretty' or 'works easily or exactly as I
> intended', though those would be nice, too) at any screen/viewport size

I see where you're coming from...

But at this point I'd like to say that we're in danger of certain mobile 
browser developers dragging us into the past (everyone's misguided apart 
from me, you see). Using raw HTML, it's incredibly hard to make a site 
with any complex level of content, let alone good usability, which will 
work across massive viewport-size differences.

CSS (and if we're lucky, Javascript) can solve these problems (in fact 
using JS you can determine whether the user agent at hand would want 
large CSS files/minimal content per page/more linear displays) - yet the 
reigning notion is that CSS and Javascript are problems. And actually, 
the developers are right - you can't trust most sites to deal with code 

My compromise solution is for Google to offer a search that prioritises 
pages with handheld.css if desired by the user... Or generally, an 
internet-based solution - for handheld (or otherwise limited) browsers 
to use - which would use client-side scripting to identify a site's 
responsible design for such agents based on a checklist of key factors, 
and then offer a preliminary diagnostic along with the ability to allow 
JS (based on the size of the scripts) and CSS (based on presence of 
large metrics, images, etc - specific factors in the code). On second 
thoughts, this is way too much work for already limited client-side 

> no, I don't do it, but I wish I could. just trying to remind myself that
> all this stuff is incredibly new; next year is kinda the 15th
> anniversary of the web as most of us know it. Fifteen years into a
> society-changing technology is probably pretty early to make sweeping
> decisions about 'backward-looking' and 'legacy systems'
> I do get philosophical before my second cup o' tea . . .
> joel

15 years is time enough to get sweeping! Hehehe.


More information about the thelist mailing list