This question is a little more subjective, but I hope to get a new perspective. I'm so used to designing for a certain screen size (usually 1024×768) that I find that size is not a problem. Expanding the size to 1280×1024 does not offer enough screen space to make a noticeable difference, but it will give me a little more room to breathe. Basically, I simply expand my "grid size" and the same basic design for the slightly smaller screen still works.
However, in the last couple of projects, all my clients used 1080p screens (1920×1080) and wanted the solutions to use as much of that real estate property as possible. 1920 pixels wide provides almost twice the width I'm used to, and the widescreen makes some of my old design approaches not work as well. The problem that I'm running into is that when I get so much space, I face some important problems.
- How many columns should I use? The wide format lends itself to a 3-column division with a 2: 1: 1 split (that is, the larger content column than the other two). However, if I go with three columns, what do I do with that additional column?
- As I do efficient Use of the real estate screen? There is a temptation to put everything on the screen at once, but too much information makes the application more difficult to use. White space is important to help make sense of complex information, but too many make related concepts seem too separate.
- I usually work with web applications that have complex data, and visualization and presentation is key to making sense of raw data. When your user also has a large screen (at least 24 "), some of the information is out of sight and you need to move the pointer a great distance.How do you make sure that everything that is needed is kept within the visual hot spots?
- Simple sites like blogs really work best when width is limited, resulting in a lot of wasted real estate. I wonder if having the text box and previewing the text side by side would be a great benefit for the administrator side of that kind of screen. (1: 1 division into two columns).
For your answers, I know that almost everything in the design is "depends". What I'm looking for is:
- General principles that you use.
- How your design approach has changed
I am discovering that I have to retrain to work with this different format. Every blip in the resolution that I have worked to date has been around 25%: 640 to 800 (increase of 25%), 800 to 1024 (increase of 28%) and 1024 to 1280 (increase of 25%). However, the jump from 1280 to 1920 is a good 50% increase in space, the equivalent of the jump from 640 in a straight line to 1024. The medium size was not used to help learn the lessons more gradually.
To help focus the question a bit, I had a project that was somewhat similar to Atlassian JIRA, a problem management system. The client wanted to keep about six different types of records, all of which could potentially be related to each other. Data collection was not the central problem, although it did play a role.
The most important side of the problem was creating a system that suggested potential relationships between the records and helped analysts to recognize the patterns in the reported incidents.
There were different types of analysts who focused on different domains of problems, and because of the nature of their type of exploratory work, they did not know what they wanted. They simply knew that they had to make sense of a large amount of data, draw correlations and characterize the kinds of problems.
(Originally asked here: https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/45864/how-do-you-conquer-the-challenge-of-designing-for-large-screen-real-estate, but said that this could be more appropriate)
For generosity: Stretch your minds a little. The answer "Make everything bigger" has a limit to how useful the answer is. We are talking about users who have to make sense of a large amount of data and find relationships between records. If I simply increase the size in everything, they will be very limited in what they can see on the screen, especially because the vertical is very limited.