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How do the new retina (high dpi) displays affect web design

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Last Modified: 2014-11-30
I, like many, am trying to wrap my brain around how the new retina displays (high dpi) affect web design. Fortunately I just "dabble" in it as a hobby. I don't design for a living. I'm hoping we can just have a little "back and forth" here for a bit. I think if I can just get some answers to a few basic questions I'll be good to go for my purposes. FYI, whenever I create images "from scratch" for something I'm doing on the web, I use a very old version of Photoshop (5.5). The default ppi setting (which I've never tinkered with or even considered doing so until now) is 72 ppi.

Okay. First question. If I create a banner image for a web page that is 1000px wide and 200px high, then load that page in Safari side by side on an iPad 2 and an iPad Air (Retina) , both with a 9.7 inch diagonal screen size, how will that banner image look different (BTW, for this example, this is without using any media screen queries and css)?  On the iPad Air, will the image just take up far less screen space (esp width), or will it take the same amount of screen space, but just look far less sharp and somewhat degraded? If it helps you, here is a link with the specs on these iPads.  http://www.iosres.com/
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Gary, I just kind of quickly scanned the content of the links you posted. I'll check them out more carefully later. Based on what I did read, however, I'm taking that your answer to my question above would be the latter, correct? That is, ". . .  take the same amount of screen space, but just look far less sharp and somewhat degraded?" (again, using my version of Photoshop and the default ppi setting of 72 ppi to create the banner image)
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Correct a 1000px image is a 1000px image no matter the display.
The only difference is when you are programming for retina displays you can use a double size image to give better clarity to the image
So for normal images 1 pixel of the image is dislayed over 2 x 2px
For a retina ready image then 1 pixel on the screen is equal 1 pixel in the image

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Okay. Just to be sure we're on the same page, however . . . when you say "use a double size image," do you mean go ahead and create the actual image double size, but in the actual code itself you would cut those width and height dimensions in half . . . thus giving you the same size image but better clarity. Also, if this is what you mean, would doubling the ppi in Photoshop before creating the image accomplish the same thing?
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Thanks for your patience.  I'm really trying to get a handle on this. I read the tut you sent via the link and it makes sense. The only think I'm confused about is this: the tut says you create only one image to get the job done, whereas you seem to suggest creating two images. What am I not grasping? Sorry, unlike the Retinas, sometimes I'm low density. :)

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Okay. I've done some more research on my own and now realize there are a number of ways to approach satisfying the retina displays . . . including javascript, to my surprise. Thanks for your help.
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I wouldn't suggest one image unless it was a relatively small size, especially so for mobiles/tablets - no point downloading a 1000px (200kb) image and then a 2000px (400kb) image for the same thing
Using js means you only have to download the one correct image or using css you use media queries load the correct image - though this can only be done as a background image
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