___           ___           ___           ___           ___           ___     
     /\  \         /\  \         /\__\         /\__\         /\  \         /\  \    
    /::\  \       /::\  \       /::|  |       /::|  |       /::\  \       /::\  \   
   /:/\:\  \     /:/\:\  \     /:|:|  |      /:|:|  |      /:/\:\  \     /:/\:\  \  
  /::\~\:\__\   /::\~\:\  \   /:/|:|  |__   /:/|:|  |__   /::\~\:\  \   /::\~\:\  \ 
 /:/\:\ \:|__| /:/\:\ \:\__\ /:/ |:| /\__\ /:/ |:| /\__\ /:/\:\ \:\__\ /:/\:\ \:\__\
 \:\~\:\/:/  / \/__\:\/:/  / \/__|:|/:/  / \/__|:|/:/  / \:\~\:\ \/__/ \/_|::\/:/  /
  \:\ \::/  /       \::/  /      |:/:/  /      |:/:/  /   \:\ \:\__\      |:|::/  / 
   \:\/:/  /        /:/  /       |::/  /       |::/  /     \:\ \/__/      |:|\/__/  
    \::/__/        /:/  /        /:/  /        /:/  /       \:\__\        |:|  |    
     ~~            \/__/         \/__/         \/__/         \/__/         \|__|    
      ___                       ___           ___           ___     
     /\  \          ___        /\  \         /\  \         /\  \    
    /::\  \        /\  \       \:\  \       /::\  \       /::\  \   
   /:/\ \  \       \:\  \       \:\  \     /:/\:\  \     /:/\ \  \  
  _\:\~\ \  \      /::\__\       \:\  \   /::\~\:\  \   _\:\~\ \  \ 
 /\ \:\ \ \__\  __/:/\/__/ _______\:\__\ /:/\:\ \:\__\ /\ \:\ \ \__\
 \:\ \:\ \/__/ /\/:/  /    \::::::::/__/ \:\~\:\ \/__/ \:\ \:\ \/__/
  \:\ \:\__\   \::/__/      \:\~~\~~      \:\ \:\__\    \:\ \:\__\  
   \:\/:/  /    \:\__\       \:\  \        \:\ \/__/     \:\/:/  /  
    \::/  /      \/__/        \:\__\        \:\__\        \::/  /   
     \/__/                     \/__/         \/__/         \/__/    

I just wanted to throw a quick note out there to anyone that might have an idea. This baffles me. I know why there are standard sizes for advertising banners on websites, but the why for the specific sizes is less clear. For example, what is the deal with the 728x90px leaderboard.. I might be living in a bubble but there’s nowhere on my site that is 728 pixels wide.

A vague standard of sites wrapped in a 960px centred div, which is based on a couple of ideas.

The 960 value has some life in that the smallest usual screen resolution on a laptop would be 1024 pixels wide, that gives 64 pixels for browser chrome (scroll bars, borders etc.) and doesn’t leave the site feeling like it’s right up against the edge. Of course with mobile and all sorts of tablet devices coming out there’s no guarantee of standard minimum screen resolutions but there’s definitely a good trend towards decent quality browsing experiences on mobile devices.

iPhones have some css properties to help mobile safari do it’s zooming. The last generation of iPhones, 3GS and before, which had 320×480 pixels screens happily zoom into columns 300px with 10 padding each side, 3 of those making a news site and you’re up to your 960 again.. This has changed with the iPhone4/iPod Touch’s retina display doubling the resolution, but it’s a habit and I’m sure it still applies to many other smartphones being able to view full columns of text..

another interesting site which I’m sure had some influence on it, or if not, formalised the idea is 960.gs. Here you’ll find a framework using 960 pixels as a standard for grid dimensions. As a number it has some useful mathematical properties like being nicely divisible by 12 and 16, ideal for laying out columns in traditional print graphic designer ways. Fiddling with 1 pixel here and there by eye isn’t science (but I do it too).

Anyway, I digress.. the rational explanation for the banner size of 728 is similarly that in the olden days of computing, back about 10 years, maybe even less, 800×600 was a common screen resolution. Hell, even 640×480 was, but we don’t expect anyone with a 13″ laptop screen today to be running it at less than 1024 pixels wide. The tiny 11″ macbook air has a screen resolution of 1366 by 768 (native).. on an 11″ screen! My desktop is running.. a 27″ iMac and a 30″ cinema display, they’re both 2560 pixels wide.. but anyway, enough about me.. what’s this about 728 pixels?!

All in all, we need some standards, we have A4 paper (or Letter if you’re in USA, not sure what you have elsewhere), perhaps it’s time to create some more up to date ones though. If this singularity is coming soon and technology is going to be progressing at a rate faster than we can comprehend it, lets step it up a little and move out of the 90’s..

rant over

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