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The Difference Between Web and Print


A lot of Web design artists come to the Web with a print experience. Either they were print artists, or they are just used to the control that a print world gives. At the time print a project, it provides permanence and stability. You don't have this on the Web.
The problem is, that it's really easy to forget. While you build your Web site and test it in your browser, you get it looking just the way you like it to look. However, then you have a trial in a different browser, and it appears to be different. And when you move to a different OS, it will look differently once more.
As you're a designer, you'll need to consider customers. You will be doing them and yourself a disservice if you don't get the how print and Web are different. Especially if you bring your portfolio as print outs. This is a common problem, where the customer expects the printout to represent exactly what the page will look like.
What To Do
Working with Customers
  • Printed Pages for your Portfolio It is very helpful to have a portfolio, however, consider that the Web is different from print, and including a printed page is not a good representation of your Web site development skills.
  • Defining Expectations Be honest with your customers. If they like their site to have very specific layout, font, and design elements, make sure you explain the tradeoffs such as download speed and maintenance prior to simply making them a completely graphical site.
  • Find out what your customer uses If you're a large Firefox or Mac fan, and your client only works with IE for Windows, you should keep this in mind in your creations. Your site could appear very different to them.
Design Tips
  • Know your audience Know the details of the users of the site you're building. If they are geeks, they probably run Unix on a 21 inch screen. Or if they are more old-fashioned they might own a 12 inch monitor running Internet Explorer 3. If you create a page that suits your audience, your customer won't come complaining to you later.
  • Test test test try your ideas in every browser and OS combination that you can get your hands on. Emulators are fine if you have no other choice, however there is no replacement for a real experience.
  • Don't forget resolution Browsers and platforms are significant, but if your users and customers are working on a smaller monitor than you design on, they could be disappointed





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