Monday, June 16, 2008

Thinking of some page design stuff...

I'm wondering about something now in regards to web page design. It seems like the trend is that monitors will be getting higher and higher resolution in the future. It is such now that XGA size is the most common (which is good, since I like it. It's sharp enough, yet refreshes plenty fast). But in the future even that will be towards the SVGA and VGA side of display resolutions. Also the market for widescreen aspect monitors is going up, so even that has to be thrown in the mix in addition to the 4:3 ratio screens.

Why is this a problem? It will make things more difficult to design properly by the pixel. What looks good on one screen will look itty-bitty on a high-res display, and will bleed off the viewed page in a horrible manner on a lower-res display. What can be done about this?

But I've noticed one thing that's really cool in the latest and greatest (as of this blog post) Firefox 3. When you use the page zoom feature, it properly scales the images in addition to the text. And the browser rendering seems to be able to do so in a smoother manner than forced sizing of the past. (Doesn't tend to get too blocky scaling up, nor aliased/oversharp looking scaling down.) What does this mean? Well, I'm thinking that HTML/CSS should (if not already does) support declaring image sizes by pts, inches, mm, or other sizes independent of actual pixel resolution. So you can have a 1"x1.5" pic on a page regardless of screen resolution. Throw in font size set by pts instead of px, and the layout stuff becomes a lot more consistent. Almost like print.

Now there is one downside I could think of too this, but it falls upon either the stupidity/ignorance of the OS or even the computer user. And that is an improperly set display dot pitch ratio. If it's wrong, the images on their screen will not scale properly to the physical space on the screen. Currently a lot systems assume 72dpi for screen display, but this is obviously wrong. A lot of newer stuff is more like 96 or 120dpi, and can even go higher for those occasional crazy-big monitors. But then again, I think some newer setups have more plug n' play built to correct this... So designing a page to dimensions rather than pixels may be the sensible way to go.

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