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The Difference Between Web and Print

A lot of Web designers come to the Web already having a print background. They were either 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 easy to forget. When you build your Web site and have a trial run in your browser, you produce it looking exactly how you want it to look. However, then you have a trial in a different browser, and it looks different. And if you switch to a different platform, it will appear differently once more.
As you're a designer, you have to consider users. You will not be doing them and yourself a favor if you don't understand 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.
Things To Do
Working with Customers
  • Printouts as a Portfolio It is very important to make a portfolio, however, remember that the Web is not print, and including a printed page is not a strong example of your Web site development skills.
  • Setting Goals Be fair with your customers. If they want their page to have very certain layout, font, and other elements, be sure to explain the tradeoffs such as download speed and maintenance before simply building them a totally graphical site.
  • Know what the client uses If you're a big Firefox or Mac fan, and your client only uses IE for Windows, you need to keep this in mind in your designs. Your page could look very different to them.
Design Techniques
  • Study your users Know the details of the users of the page you're building. If they are geeks, they probably browse in Unix on a 21 inch screen. Or if they happen to be more conservative they might have a 12 inch monitor working with Internet Explorer 3. If you design a page that suits your audience, your customer won't come complaining afterwards.
  • Test test test try your ideas in every browser and OS combination that you manage to access. Emulators are fine if you have no other options, but you can't find a replacement for a life experience.
  • Remember about resolution Browsers and platforms are significant, but if the readers and clients are working on a smaller screen than you design on, they will be unpleasantly surprised

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