I was searching around the other day looking at larger companies websites and I have to say I was quite disappointed at what I saw. Quite a few major sites don’t care about what’s outside their main web design. And to me, that’s just plain laziness and it detracts from the quality of their site.
What am I talking about? Well first you need a screen that’s wider than 800×600. I’m on a 20″ iMac G5 so I’ve got plenty of room and I know there are quite a few people out there with screens larger than 800×600. Then go to Apple.com and make sure your browser window is wide. What do you see? You should see a website centered in the page with a bar that goes all the way across the screen at the top. That, to me, is a good design because they thought about what happens when their main design ends. They put equal amounts of white space on each side and kept their header graphic going.
Now check out Dell.com. What do you see? I see the web page aligned to the left, graphics that just end, and lots of white space. They didn’t take the time to consider what their website looked like to everyone. Sorry, but not all people are browsing in 800×600 windows. A quick background image that spanned across the entire window, and/or centering the web page, and I think this would look much better.
Dell wasn’t the only site I found this issue with. IBM, HP and SUN are a few that also have similar issues. Gateway.com at least centers their page and I think that helps a lot.
My point is that everyone needs to think about all their visitors when designing a web page. Some have smaller screens and some have larger screens and we need to think about what happens when the main design ends.