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Don’t tie your website designers’ hands behind their backs

Here’s something to consider next time you have your website redesigned. There are at least half a dozen widely used web browsers, and two or three widely used operating systems. My own website had 50 different combinations of browser and operating system visit it just last month, and that’s before we start looking at the different versions of each browser. Now, most experienced designers know full well that the way different browsers interpret the code behind a page is so different that no two representations are going to be alike without fiddling and compromise. However, that’s exactly what the designers do, in attempt to make the page display as identically as possible for every visitor. It costs a lot of money, and involves a lot of tweaks, some of which may later make the whole site fail to display properly. As the client, you’d be upset if you knew how much time was wasted by the designer on this activity.

So why do they aim for this identical display nirvana, without asking? Because client after client in the past has discovered unexpected inconsistencies from browser to browser in their precious signed-off design …and they’ve asked the designer to fix them (without offering to pay for the effort involved). So it just becomes standard practice to fiddle and compromise from the outset, to attempt to make the site look identical in all browsers. The designer would like to give you rounded corners on that panel, but they’d turn out square on one particular browser, and that would be pointed out as a “fault” …so they avoid the round corners in the first place. And on it goes.

If – as a client – you would say up front that you don’t mind the site looking different from browser to browser, so long as it looks good, and functions well, the designer could produce a much better job. But don’t expect them to voluntarily suggest this approach, because they’ll have tried it with many clients in the past, and eventually given up after the 17th managing director in a year said: “the new website didn’t look exactly the same on my old home PC as it did on the one in the office, please fix it”. Read Websites Shouldn’t Look The Same Across Different Browsers …Here Is Why on Noupe for a more in-depth explanation.

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