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The Web is Not Print

A lot of Web designers come to the Web already having a print background. Either they were print designers, or they are just used to the manage that a print world gives. At the time print something, it provides permanence and stability. Things are different on the Web.
The thing is, that it's easy to overlook. When you create your Web page 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 when you move to another OS, it will look differently again.
Being a designer, you'll need to work with 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.
Things To Do
Working with Customers
  • Printed Pages as a Portfolio It is very important to have a portfolio, but consider that the Web is not print, and bringing a printout is not a strong example of your Web site development talents.
  • Setting Goals Be fair with your clients. If they require their page to have very specific layout, font, and design elements, make sure you explain the tradeoffs such as download speed and editing before simply making them a totally graphical site.
  • Find out what your customer uses If you're a large Firefox or Mac fan, and your customer only works with IE for Windows, you should remember in your creations. Your page could look very different to them.
Design Techniques
  • Study your audience Get familiar with the characteristics of the users of the page you're designing. If they are geeks, they probably run Unix on a 21 inch screen. Or if they are more conservative they might have a 12 inch monitor working with Internet Explorer 3. If you create a page that works for your users, your clients won't come complaining afterwards.
  • Don't forget to test Test your ideas in all the browser and OS combo that you manage to get your hands on. Emulators are fine if you don't have other options, but there is no replacement for a life experience.
  • Remember about resolution Browsers and platforms are significant, but if the users and clients are browsing on a smaller monitor than you use, they will be disappointed

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