While a recent report by www.w3schools.com (http://www.w3schools.com/browsers/browsers_display.asp) indicates that an incredible 85% of users visiting their site are now putting to use monitors with higher than 1024x768 resolution this is not indicative of the average viewer whom according to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Display_resolution) the single most common resolution is still 1024x768 at 20.71%. Again, however this discrepancy highlights another problem; where are these numbers coming from.
A chart put together by browserrank.com (see image gallery) puts to light the problem.
Demographics have as much or more to do with the growing popularity of high resolution displays than anything else. In some polls, 1366 x 768 has now surpassed every other in popularity, but what do all of these numbers really mean.
When approaching a new web site project it always comes to a question of how to best provide my information and what will get me the best response. While big, hi-res images and video will garner you all the attention in the world, there may be no worse practice than to alienate potential clients by designing a site that falls outside of the width of their screen, popping up those dreaded horizontal scroll bars.
So are we stuck at 960px?
For ages it seems that the widely accepted safe 960 grid system in some ways has become the standard for web design sizing (originally conceived with 1024 x 768 in mind). But in a mobile age where font sizes are ever increasing, images seem to take over web sites and interactive elements are bigger/brighter for use with touch devices, is everything just getting a little crowded in a frame that hasn't changed sizes in over 3 years? The answer it seems is YES and, YES.
As we march forward to a screen resolution that surpasses what the human eye can actually see the debate will continue. In the end, it comes down to a question of practicality; what works best and what will function properly. For now, 960 seems to be that answer... but in this minuet by minuet wwWorld, we'll see what happens next week.