Have you ever tested your application against uncommon screen resolutions? Let’s say 1024×576 which is quite popular among netbooks.
The answer is: no, you haven’t. You’ve already forgot there can be something worse than 1024×786. We all have. Screen resolutions went higher and higher. Unfortunately we’re switching from big machines to smaller ones. I’ve already written how important it is to have a website optimized for mobile phones. But the case is more general.
Now you need to consider a wide range of possible displays. Mobile phones have better resolutions than computers had 10 years ago and are capable to browse the web. On the other hand 1920×1200 became pretty common these days. And of course you can’t forget about those who don’t reach 786 pixels height on their small laptops.
I use Lenovo S10e for some time, which has 1024×576 screen resolution and believe me – people don’t think about these screens.
Let’s take Live Messenger. Try to change some options. All you can get is this:
Maybe some web application. They should be more aware of what people use. I recently play with LiquidPlanner. A screen I get in my Firefox when I try to add a project in LiquidPlanner looks like that:
I know I can set my taskbar to auto-hide or even better work in browser full-screen mode, but I don’t want. I’ve tried both. And I won’t like any. I want to see my damn taskbar and I want to see my damn tabs in my damn browser. I’ve tried to move the taskbar to the left side but many pages are optimized for 1024 width and I get horizontal scroll which is a pain in the ass. I don’t have horizontal scroll wheel in my mouse and I wouldn’t use it even if you paid me. I prefer to blame application developers.
If you work on application, especially web application, take a while and do simple test: resize your browser and look how your app look like. Check where minimal size of working area is too big to be properly displayed in non-standard screens. Think what minimal screen resolution for your application is.
Then ask yourself a question: do you want to leave these with lower resolutions behind?