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The Web is Not Print

A lot of Web design artists come to the Web already having a print experience. They were either print artists, or they are just used to the control that a print world gives. At the time print something, it provides permanence and stability. Things are different on the Web.
The problem is, that it's really easy to overlook. When you create your Web site and have a trial run in your browser, you produce it looking exactly the way you want it to look. However, then you test it in a different browser, and it appears to be different. And if you move to a different platform, it will look differently once more.
Being a designer, you'll need to consider users. 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
  • Printouts for your Portfolio It is very helpful to create a portfolio, but consider that the Web is different from print, and bringing a printed page is not a strong representation of your Web site development talents.
  • Defining Expectations Be honest with your customers. If they like their site to have one certain layout, font, and design elements, make sure you explain the faults of it like download speed and maintenance prior to simply building them a completely graphical page.
  • Know what your customer uses If happen to be a large Opera or Mac fan, and your client only uses Internet Explorer for Windows, you have to keep this in mind in your project. Your page could look very different to them.
Design Tips
  • Know your users Know the characteristics of the users of the site you're building. If they are propeller-heads, they might run Unix on a 21 inch monitor. Or if they are more conservative they might own a 12 inch monitor working with Internet Explorer 3. If you design a page that works for your users, your customer won't be complaining to you later.
  • Test test test try your ideas in all the browser and OS combo that you can access. Emulators work if you don't have other choice, however there is no replacement for a real experience.
  • Don't forget resolution Software and OS are important, but if your users and customers are browsing on a smaller monitor than you design on, they will be disappointed

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