It’s pretty clear that the future of web is dictated by technology. We’ve seen Flash recede back, replaced by HTML 5 animation all because Apple denied Flash animation on the iPad and iPhone. We’ve seen bigger, more complex designs because load time is no longer as slow as it once was. Now Apple is transitioning to the use of Retina display.
Great, right? Well, kind of. Web design has always been designed in 72 dpi (dots per inch) resolution. With Retina display, the web looks fuzzy and distorted – like when you blow up an image from 50px by 50px to 100px x 100px. 72 dpi is too low for Retina display.
The solution? Design for Retina and swap the images with higher resolutions when retina is detected. Easier said then done, right? A particular hurdle I have come up against is photography. Back in the good-ol’-days before Getty Images bought istockphotos, photo budgets would be tiny. Just buy the small web size at a dollar a pop, and you’re set! These days we’ve been seeing Getty’s influence on istock with the slow, steady increase of price per pixel.
Now, I could be wrong of course, but I think iStockphoto is the best stock photography site for low photography budgets. However, with the introduction of Retina display, we as designers will have to buy higher resolution photos to account for the new pixel density. Gee, thanks a lot, Apple.
OK, I’m being too harsh. I’m really excited about the new retina displays. When photography is 144 dpi or higher, it looks amazing. Yay for exciting, beautiful, clear photography. Boo for our photo budgets.