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The Web is Not Print

Many Web design artists come to the Web already having a print experience. Either they were print designers, or they are just used to the manage that a print world gives. When you print something, it provides permanence and stability. That does not happen with Web.
The thing is, that it's really easy to forget. While you create your Web site and test it in your browser, you produce it looking exactly how you want it to look. But then you test it in a different browser, and it looks different. And when you move to a different OS, it will appear differently again.
Being a designer, you'll need to consider users. You will not be doing them and yourself a favor if you don't explain 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 always important to create a portfolio, but remember that the Web is different from print, and including a printout is not a good representation of your Web site design talents.
  • Setting Goals Be honest with your customers. If they require their page to have one specific layout, font, and images, make sure you explain the tradeoffs such as download speed and maintenance before simply making them a totally graphical page.
  • Find out what the client uses If happen to be a large Opera or Mac addict, and your client only works with IE for Windows, you have to keep this in mind in your project. Your page could appear dramatically different to them.
Design Techniques
  • Know your users Know the details of the users of the site you're building. If they are propeller-heads, they probably run Unix on a 21 inch monitor. 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 users, your clients won't be complaining to you later.
  • Don't forget to test Test your designs in every browser and OS combo that you manage to get your hands on. Emulators work if you don't have other choice, but there is no substitute for a real experience.
  • Remember about resolution Software and platforms are significant, but if your readers and clients are browsing on a smaller monitor than you design on, they will be unpleasantly surprised

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