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The Difference Between Web and Print

A lot of Web designers come to the Web with a print background. Either they were print artists, or they are simply used to the control that a print world gives. At the time print something, it provides permanence and stability. That does not happen with Web.
The thing is, that it's easy to forget. When you develop your Web page and have a trial run in your browser, you get it looking just the way you like it to look. But then you have a trial in another browser, and it looks different. And when you switch to a different OS, it will appear differently once more.
As you're a designer, you have to work with 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.
What To Do
Working with Customers
  • Printouts for your Portfolio It is very important to create a portfolio, but consider that the Web is not print, and including a printout is not a strong example of your Web site development skills.
  • Defining Goals Be honest with your clients. If they want their site to have one specific layout, font, and design elements, make sure you explain the tradeoffs like download speed and maintenance before simply making them a totally graphical site.
  • Know what the customer uses If happen to be a large Firefox or Mac fan, and your customer only works with Internet Explorer for Windows, you should keep this in mind in your project. Your site could appear dramatically different to them.
Design Tips
  • Study your users Get familiar with the characteristics of the users of the page you're building. If they are propeller-heads, they might browse in Unix on a 21 inch screen. Or if they happen to be more conservative they might have a 12 inch monitor running Internet Explorer 3. If you create a page that works for your audience, your clients won't be complaining afterwards.
  • Run the tests try your ideas in every browser and OS combo that you can access. Emulators are fine if you have no other options, but there is no substitute for hands on experience.
  • Don't forget resolution Software and OS are significant, but if the readers and clients are working on a smaller screen than you use, they will be unpleasantly surprised

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