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Chapter 26. Resolution, Gamma, and the V... > Screen Resolution - Pg. 484

484 Chapter 26. Resolution, Gamma, and the Visual Environment In this chapter Understanding the Computer Screen Screen Resolution Screen Color and Gamma Working with Screen Space Troubleshooting Designing for the Real World Understanding the Computer Screen I spend a lot of time at my computer. I work on it, use it to retrieve news, to communicate with others, and sometimes just to have fun. I've always been interested in what makes it tick, how it works, and how I can improve both its performance and my experience with it. In fact, ensuring that I'm comfortable using it for long hours is imperative. One problem I've encountered is with my eyes--having to look at a screen for many hours at a time can take its toll. There are different issues that directly affect what I end up seeing on my screen-- the quality and depth of the images, the colors, the space, and the contrast. As a Web designer, understanding a bit about some of these influences can help you create sites that take the user's experience into consideration--ultimately delivering a higher quality, more ef- fective site to his or her desktop. Screen Resolution What many Web designers are surely familiar with, but many of their site visitors don't know, is how to manage the resolution of their computer monitors. Resolution refers to how many pixels appear on the horizontal and vertical axes of your computer screen. If my resolution is set to the lowest common denominator of 640×480 pixels, that means that 640 pixels are available in width, and 480 pixels in height, total, for the entire screen. Most computers ship with 640×480 as a default resolution, and many older computers are only capable of that resolution. For this reason, many Web site visitors are seeing the Web at 640×480, and either cannot change or do not know how to change the resolution of their video monitor screens. At 640×480 resolution, the disadvantage is that there is less space to work with (see Figure 26.1), but, for some, the advantage is that everything also appears larger. Similarly, many notebook com- puters ship at a default of 800×600 resolution. This is a popular resolution, too--perhaps the most popular at this point.