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The Web is Not Print

A lot of Web designers come to the Web already having a print background. They were either print designers, or they are just used to the manage that a print world gives. At the time print a project, it turns out to be permanent and stable. That does not happen with Web.
The thing is, that it's really easy to forget. While you build your Web site and test it in your browser, you get it looking exactly how 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 another platform, it will appear 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 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.
Things To Do
Working with Customers
  • Printed Pages as a Portfolio It is always helpful to create a portfolio, but remember that the Web is not print, and bringing a printout is not a strong representation of your Web site design skills.
  • Setting Expectations Be honest with your customers. If they like their page to have very specific layout, font, and design elements, be sure to explain the tradeoffs like download speed and editing before simply building them a completely graphical page.
  • Know what the client uses If happen to be a large Firefox or Mac addict, and your customer only uses IE for Windows, you need to remember in your project. Your site could look dramatically different to them.
Design Techniques
  • Know your audience Get familiar with the characteristics of the audience of the page you're building. If they are geeks, they probably run Unix on a 21 inch screen. Or if they happen to be more old-fashioned they might have a 12 inch monitor running Internet Explorer 3. If you design a site that suits your users, your clients won't be complaining to you later.
  • Run the tests try your designs in all the browser and OS combo that you can get your hands on. Emulators work if you have no other options, but you can't find a substitute for a life experience.
  • Don't forget resolution Browsers and OS are significant, but if your readers and clients are browsing on a smaller screen than you design on, they could be unpleasantly surprised

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