Apr 20, 2010

Your website is not a print ad

Websites are a great advertising medium, they can communicate a great deal of information along with reinforcing your company’s branding. What separates websites from more traditional print advertising mediums is their dynamic instead of static nature.

Every aspect of a print ad can be controlled from the size, paper, ink colors and medium. Take a magazine ad for example; there is a defined target market including gender, income level, education, likes, and world view that is meticulously researched and defined. The size is 11x13” on glossy paper, the ink colors are controlled to look exactly the same on the designer’s monitor as they do on paper. Once printed, the circulation lasts about a month, and every end user sees the same ad, on the same page, in the same magazine context. The whole user experience has been controlled to produce constant, reliable results.

Web sites on the other hand are dynamic and ARE changed according to the end users. The HTML code that constitutes a website can be interpreted differently by the end user’s browser. Color is dependent on monitor contrast and brightness settings, along with the operating system (not to mention CRT vs. plasma or LCD). The website’s size can be changed based on the monitor size and resolution, which can range from 800 x 600px to 1600 x 1200px. By changing browser settings, the end user can choose to disregard images, increase or decrease the text size, and block structural and functional code like Javascript or CSS. In the end, your website is a very fluid medium with a lot of potential.

Going into the web design process knowing that fluidity is the nature of the beast can save you a lot of time and frustration. An experienced web designer knows the quirks of all major browsers along with how to make your design appear similar and functional across the most popular modern browsers. We will work with you to create designs that can be flexible across different monitor sizes and resolutions along with providing colors with enough contrast to be differentiated for most users, despite differences across monitors.

One of the first lessons a skilled web designer must learn is to give up the type of absolute control a print designer enjoys.  We do this by embracing the challenge and excitement of the web’s fluidity.  As a client and website owner, it is equally important for you to understand and accept that your website is built for delivery on screen via a browser – not as a printed piece.  And while you may not have absolute control over where your text line breaks, or the spacing between your letters, the digital nature of a website gives you far more control over metrics and conversion tracking.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>