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Web Design vs. Print Design: How To Find The Middle Ground

Nov 10, 2007
There are a number of web designers who come up with print backgrounds for the sites that they make. These are most likely those who used to be print designers before joining the web design company they are part of now, or they are simply used to the control that is offered by print media. Remember though that print provides stability and permanence, and these two are not present in the Web. Realistically speaking though and speaking from experience if I may add, it is rather easy to forget this.

As you build your web page and have it tested on your browser, you somehow would like it to look exactly how you want it to. However, since your web design company requires you to test it in different browsers, you will see that they look different. As you move from one platform to the next, you will notice that there are slight but uncomfortable differences. This should be a good reminder that web design does not have the permanence and the stability that print does.

On the other hand, as the web designer, your web design company will most likely ask you to work with your customers during the web designing process. One of the most important things that you need to do is to explain to them the difference between the Web and print. Most clients would ask you to provide them your portfolios and web design plans. It is all too common for a web design company to receive customer complaints which stems from the fact that the website is not the exact representation of the print-out. To spare your web design company from this usual trouble, you have to learn how to properly work with your customers:

It is always good to have a portfolio printed out for clients to see. But bear in mind that it is not entirely a representation of your skills in web designs. When you do show them a portfolio, make sure that you also carefully explain to them the differences that they should expect on the final output web page. Make sure that you are upfront with them. If they set specifications for a graphical page and want specific layout, font and other web design elements, make sure that you also mention the possible trade-offs such as in the download speed and maintenance requirements. Lastly, it would be best to know what type of platform your customer will use. If you are a big fan of Netscape on the Mac, while your customer uses Internet Explorer version 7 for the Windows operating system, make sure that you bear this fact in mind when you come up with your designs. The page you come up with during the web design face may look very different on their platform.

So how then can you compromise the difference between web design and print? Well, you mostly need to rely on the web design techniques that you employ. Here are some tips to help you through this difference:

* Know your audience very well. It is imperative that you know who the potential visitors of the site are and for whom the website is to be made for. Know your client's target audience and their characteristics or behaviors. If they are highly advanced users, they will most likely browse in UNIX or Linux on a 21-inch monitor. If they are rather more conservative, they are likely to use an Internet Explorer 7 on a 14 inch monitor. If your web design best suits your audience, your client will not come back running to your web design company to complain about the final site output.

* Test, test, and test again. You need to test your web design in each and every browser and operating system combination that you can possibly get both your hands on. You can use emulators if you are short of time and if you have no other choice, but nothing beats hands on experience through actual tests and runs.

* Never forget about resolution. Although browsers and operating systems are both important, there is one other factor that you need to consider in site web design. Keep in mind that if your client as well as their target audience will browse your final page on a browser than is smaller than you have designed on, there is a good possibility that they will be unpleasantly surprised. They might come back running to you, and your web design company might not appreciate that very much.

Using CSS can help you get precise layouts, but remember that your web design can never and will never be as precise as print. Remember this as implement the web design of your pages to spare you and your web design company a great deal of stress.
About the Author
Semul Johnson is a Marketing expert with a leading SEO services company specializing in SEO web design.
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