Screen resolution statistics
Webdevelopers know there are (at least) two major things which can have a great impact on the way your site is experienced:
- The webbrowser/operating system
- The screen
Now, if you're a decent webbuilder, you will know how to make sure your website displays correctly in different browsers/different operating systems, but screen resolutions are just as important.
1024x768, The Netherlands
A year ago, about 60% of the Dutch internet users used a screen resolution of 1024x768 or less. Now, according to stats on startpagina.nl (a popular site in the Netherlands with millions of pageviews each day) this has dropped to about 50% - which is still quite high. Probably because this website is one of the first Dutch sites that became popular (as a portal) and it's probably still the homepage on many old computers. On other sites this number might be a little lower.
If we look at the average screen resolutions worldwide, according to stats from thecounter.com or w3schools, we also still see average percentages of about 50% for 1024x768 or lower resolutions.
According to this excellent article on worldwide screen resolutions (november 2007), which shows aspect ratio's and resolutions for different countries based on it's own statistics, these results are heavily dependent on the geographical location. The highest resolutions are found in Scandinavia and Western-Europa. Of course this is easy explained as these are rich countries with easier access to high-end displays.
Browser safe areas
Another thing to keep in mind is that each browser has it's own 'safe area' were content is visible without scrolling. You can quickly find these widths and heights in pixels for different browsers and operating in the designers toolbox.
What about mobile screens?
Yes, indeed. Smartphones like the iPhone are becoming more and more popular and trends show a bright future for mobile internet. Popular resolutions are 320x240 and 320x480 (iPhone). Read more about mobile screen resolutions here.
Bases on these data resources and the target group for your site, you should be able to make important design decisions for your webdesign. However, these figures don't necessarily mean much as some users will not maximize their browser window or have lots of additional toolbars / sidebars.