What Is The Best Screen Resolution To Design For?

Ever wondered, “What is the best size to build a website?”

As a developer I get this question all the time, typically from graphic designers looking to make a site that lasts at least a few years.

One good resource to answer the question is StatCounter’s Screen Resolution Data. It gives a nice interactive graph with the latest screen resolutions in use throughout the web. Here’s how it looked for January 2010 through December 2012 June 2010 to June 2013.

Source: StatCounter Global Stats – Screen Resolution Market Share

Side Note: Not sure what the spike in 1024 x 768 in April and May of 2013 was all about. It appears to be enough out of line that it can be classified as an outlier or data issue.

Of course, the answer will likely be different for each website depending on its market and audience, but at least you can see the ‘majority’ and make an educated decision. And, this answers the question for the traditional desktop screen–not for the myriad mobile devices and strategies needed for responsive design.

Currently, 1366 x 768 is the most used, followed by a declining percentage of 1024 x 768.

The resolutions increasing most quickly are 1920 x 1080 (the big 23″ screens that are now only $100 – $300) and 768 x 1024 (pre-Retina iPads and a bunch of other tablets).

In my experience, you want to pick the resolution that:

  1. Best fits your sites goals
  2. Is used by the majority
  3. Is either level or increasing in its usage stats for the last couple of years

What have you found to be the best?