Screen resolution statistics...at what percentage is it too low to design for?

Hello UX Community. Looking for advice. I am designing a desktop application where we have some users still using 1024x768. We have about 3.5% of our users at this resolution. Most are viewing at screen resolution 1366x768 or higher (up to 1920x1080). At what percentage of users is it too low to design for to where most of your audience will suffer because of a few.

Would love to get your input. Thanks in advance.

Sam

Hi Sam,
That’s a good question and recently I was wondering the same. When I used to work in agencies a general rule of thumb for browser support was around >3% and to support more we charged extra. As for resolution, it was all 960px back then (I’m showing my age) and these were for sites that had about 100,000 visitors on a good day.

More recently, I was discussing the same thing with the developers where I work and asked if 3% would be a reasonable cut off, as we were running into users that had nasty little low res windows machines that were 1024x600. I work in education, and schools buy the cheapest computers they can.

The product has over a million users. 3% would mean 300,000 users. 300,000 users running into trouble would put a significant load on support staff.

Basically, you have to way up the impact of not supporting a certain size, and a simple metric of % of users affected is insufficient. You need to weigh up how severely they will be affected on top of the number.

I hope those anecdotes help.

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Thanks Tim for taking the time to answer. This is so helpful!!! I appreciate it. I need to find out how many users is 3.5% of our audience. If it’s anything like your example above, then that’s a huge number to ignore.

I’m new to the company I work for. Not sure yet how large their audience is. I’ll definitely investigate.

Thanks again and Happy New Year!

Actually this is a easy calculation (from the economical point of view ;)):
How much does it cost and how much profit/turnover is made supporting these 3%.

Very good advice Ole. I will take this into consideration with the team. Much appreciated.

I agree with the above - there needs to be reward for effort and support but wanted to add that you should still consider those users from an accessibility standpoint with the concept of graceful degradation. So it’s always good that changes are tested on those just to ensure that the application is still basically usable at that res.

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Most definitely Andrew. I 100% agree with you. Thank you for giving that advice.

Hey, I’m gonna give you a different answer than most people here. In my opinion, in 2020 you can’t have a minimum resolution. All UI for mass–market consumption should be responsive now. A true minimum could be around 320px because even the cheapest oldest phones can do that (ask your quant. analyst). Yes, your website should be usable on 320px, even if it’s for not–that–many users.

Lemme try to explain why, in 2 parts.

  1. Imagine a person who has the worst kind of device a developer can think of. They may be poor and have trouble to afford dinner every day, they may be old and struggling with computers, they may have disabilities and consume content differently than most of us. Are those the people you want to leave behind? They may need your service the most.
    Of course, this depends a lot on what your company does. But consider the people you choose to leave behind, don’t just see them as a kind of weird minority. Try to get people like that on your usability test.

  2. The second point depends on what kind of front–end stack you use, but anyway. Your website should gracefully adapt to any resolution. Even weird ones like a car’s dashboard, intelligent fridge or an ultra–widescreen monitor. That’s why we cannot anymore design for specific screen sizes. The (devices) world is too diverse now and for that, you would need to have a hundred screen sizes. It’s better to have everything endlessly adaptable. Consult this with your devs, it’s a bigger challenge for them than for a designer.

I struggle with this too, but we should still strive for it!

I’m building a screen with a 1x1 resolution, just to prove you wrong. /s

I think this is closer to the mark, specifically the point about researching the problem. Metrics should be able to show us screen resolutions accessing your site or app - take a look at the metrics and decide what percentage of customers you want to support.

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