Friday, October 24, 2008


After our blog "Above the Fold," we received some very intelligent questions.

"Wouldn't 'the fold' be different depending on what type of computer you're using? Can't it be different for different people?"

The answer? Yes, absolutely it can. But it's not based on your type of computer. It's based on your resolution settings. Resolution is a little bit tricky to explain without starting to speak "tech talk," but we'll give it a shot nonetheless.

Every picture, program, website, etc., that you have on your computer, has a size. Now, while in real life we measure size in inches (or centimeters, for you crazy metric addicts out there), on the internet, and with computers in general, we measure things in "pixels."

So, let's say we have an image. Let's say, in fact, that we have this image:

This specific image is 600 pixels wide and 315 pixels tall. Now, don't go trying to measure this in inches, because pixels and inches aren't really mutually compatible.

The reason for this is your resolution settings. When you choose your screen resolution, you're choosing how many pixels to show on your screen. This setting might be anywhere from 640 x 480 up to 1680 x 1050, or even more. If you change your resolution, images will seem to be different sizes. In reality, they're the exact same size as they were (in pixels), but since you're showing more pixels at once, they're comparitively smaller.

The higher your resolution (meaning the bigger the numbers -- like the 1680 x 1050 number), the higher the quality and smaller t he size of items on your screen (whether that's websites, images, or whatever else).

So, hopefully that give you a general idea of what resolution is, and what resolution means. But what does resolution mean for your website? How will it impact your online business?

Well, with different people viewing your site at different sizes, it's going to look different to people who are using different resolutions. People with higher resolution are going to see more of your site. Your "fold" will change depending on your customer's resolution.

So when you're trying to decide where to put things on your website, what resolution should you be using? What should you be basing these decisions on.

Here's a basic chart that gives an idea of the most common resolutions:

Date Higher 1024x768 800x600 640x480 Unknown
January 2008 38% 48% 8% 0% 6%

In brief, 1024 wide by 768 high is what you should be judging on. Many of the "higher resolution" settings are actually 1280 wide by 768 high. Since the "fold" is determined by the height of the website, you should make sure your resolution is set to 768 high when you make decisions about placement. This is what we can call the most common "fold" for your website.

I know, I know! It's incredibly technical sounding, and a little difficult to explain. But here are a couple general hints about how the different resolution settings should affect your work.
  • Never make your banner (the top section of your website, which contains your logo, etc.) more than 800 pixels wide. If you do, 8%-14% of your visitors will have to scroll left and right to be able to see your entire website, which we want to avoid.
  • When making decisions on placement, make sure you're using either a 1024 x 768 or a 1280 x 768 resolution.
  • Don't freak out about exactly how your text looks on your site. Some people spend a lot of time changing their wording, just so certain words stay on the same line together. This isn't going to be very effective, though, since the different resolutions are going to make the text look different anyway.
And the end point, of course, is that understanding this will help you make smart decisions about where to place content. Smarter placement means more sales. More sales means having a successful online business.

To learn more about how a quality coaching company can help you in gaining the knowledge you need to run an online business, simply visit

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