Quote Originally Posted by Lee L
There are ways to make your web page width dynamic so that it looks good on a wide variety of screen resolutions. I usually view APUG on a monitor set to 1600 x 1200, but it also looks fine at 800 x 600 with no horizontal scrolling
Indeed; one of the original design features of HTML (the coding scheme used for most Web pages) is that it was resolution-independent -- a user could have a browser set to 640x480, 800x600, 1024x768, 900x1200, or any other resolution and still read the page. (Well, within reason; a 1x1 browser window won't be very useful, for instance.) Cell phones and network-enabled PDAs also have tiny screens. There are even non-GUI Web browsers, such as Lynx, that display Web pages on text-mode screens. For the most part, you're out of luck with graphics with text-mode browsers, of course, so they're not good choices for browsing many photography Web sites.

Unfortunately, people with backgrounds in paper publishing have a tendency to try to force particular resolutions on their Web pages, and certain Web publishing packages encourage this bad practice. This wreaks havoc when users don't conform to the designers' expectations. If I encounter such a site, 9 times out of 10 I'll just move on, so the site's designer loses out, to the extent that the site's designer wants readership/viewership. A well-designed Web page can be viewed at any resolution, and IMHO if you have to ask what your target resolution is, you're designing the site in the wrong way. I'm afraid I can't offer you much specific advice on using your software to do it the right way, though; I code my HTML by hand and eschew the latest Web gizmos.

One big exception to the above is in the size of graphics. Although programs like Photoshop obfuscate matters, bitmap graphics are sized in pixels, and when you include images on your site, those images must necessarily be set to a particular size in pixels. These graphics can be resized by the browser under certain circumstances, but in the end you must decide on the size of your graphics. For this, I recommend keeping the graphics small -- certainly no wider than 800 pixels. If you want to present something larger than this, do so optionally by creating a smaller image that serves as a link to a larger version of the image. That way, your readers can view the small image and, if they're so inclined, click the link to view the bigger version. Note that the graphics size has to do with both the size on the screen and the size of the file that the reader downloads; too-big (in pixels) images also tend to be big in terms of bytes, and that translates into a sluggish Web page, particularly for readers who are stuck with slow dial-up connections. Of course, you can use JPEG compression to reduce the size of an image in bytes without reducing its size in pixels, and you should probably experiment with compression settings for your images to determine where the quality starts to degrade beyond your liking, and see how that translates into file size in bytes. Also, don't put up a big image and use HTML codes to resize the image to something smaller. Although that may work fine when you review your site locally, if a reader is stuck downloading multiple 2MB image files that are resized to 640x480, the reader will likely become annoyed and move on.