It almost seems like common sense for web designers to approach their web work with the same mindset as you would use for a print design. After all the elements are generally the same. The colors are at least similar. Many designers complicate this problem by using printed out webpage examples in their print portfolios. The problem with this approach is the failure to consider the differences between web and print design.

When you print a design, that is how it looks; it has “permanence and stability.” However, when you design a page on the web, its appearance will change drastically depending upon the browser, screen size and operating system you use to view it.  Many Web designers come to the Web landscape with a print background.  For customers, this means insisting on seeing a potential designer’s sites rather than simple printouts. A print out is not a guarantee of a good designer’s skill since the site will look differently depending on the browser. Experts universally agree that design portfolio is vital for a designer to have, but print outs of pages are not the best representation of your web skills. Let’s say a customer comes to you with a printed design for a site with lots of graphics, animation, and other “busyness” going on. Most customers will probably not understand the trade-offs such as download speed, maintenance and SEO implications for a page filled with graphics and animation so being up front with a customer about what they want and expect will go a long way towards developing a happy customer and a successful site.

Every designer has a browser they prefer to use, but your customer might prefer a different system. Its a good idea to ask your client what browser they  use so you will be able to test your design and see how different it looks before the customer sees it.  A good web designer will not only test your site in multiple browsers but also keep at least the basic search engine optimization tactics in mind when developing your website.   Also think about the demographic the site is geared towards. Will they most likely be looking at your site from their iPhones? Laptops? Desktops? The difference in resolution will make a difference with how you present your web design. There is no substitute for testing. Trying your site out on a multitude of browser and operating system combination’s will help you understand how your design might change and if it is something you need to be concerned about. Ultimately, web designing “will never be as precise as print.” This isn’t a bad thing, it just means you need to be aware and make your customer aware of the differences so you both end up with the site you want.

Do you agree or disagree?  Perhaps, I missed something?  Either way, I would just love to hear what your thoughts are on this topic… just let me know your alive!

Leave a comment below…