Web Sites and Browsers: Face Up to the Scary Truth – See Your Web Site as Other People Do


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Have you ever passed a mirror and found a stranger reflected back at you? Most of us have a perception of how we look, but it’s not always realistic. The same goes for our web sites. Unless we do our homework, what we think is the image we are portraying to the outside world is not what others are seeing.

Web pages can look very different depending on the configuration of the visitor's computer. Users utilize a broad range of screen resolutions, operating systems, monitor settings and browsers.

Here are some reasons for the differences from computer to computer:

  1. Everyone uses different screen resolutions. Approximately 20% of people use an 800 by 600 pixel screen resolution, but more and more people are buying large monitors and are viewing pages on resolutions of 1024 by 768 or more. Pages will look totally different on different resolutions, so you must make sure that your web site designer makes your site work on all resolutions, with NO horizontal scrolling.
  2. Look at your site on different browsers. (See what is a web browser?) The majority of people use Internet Explorer to view web pages, but Mozilla and Opera are gaining ground. The trouble with web browsers comes when they have trouble translating the code behind your web site. Older versions of web browsers have particular trouble translating code properly. Some people do not update their web browsers when new versions come out, so getting your pages to work in older web browsers is important. If there is an error in your code, there is a much greater change of it not displaying correctly, or it may not even display at all in the older web browsers.
  3. Look at your site on different computers including PCs, Macs and laptops. All computers will display your site differently. Different video cards, different screen technology and different monitor settings are factors that will affect how your site displays.
  4. Web sites reflect your company's professional image. If your site shows improperly or not at all, your company's reputation can be tainted. If your site has browser display problems, visitors and potential customers will leave your site and not look back.

    Any good web designer will test your site on different browsers, but you can also do your part. Whenever you can, look at your site on other people’s computers. You may be surprised at what you see!

    What is a web browser? Your Web browser is a translation device. It takes a document written in the HTML (the language used to write web pages) and translates it into a web page. Differences between browsers are caused by the different ways they translate the html code. The translation is a little like giving two translators a sentence written in Spanish and asking them to translate it into English. They will very likely use different words to translate the Spanish, even though they will both get the meaning across. The most popular web browsers are Internet Explorer (IE), Netscape and Opera.

    Colleen Happ designs effective and affordable websites. View her portfolio at http://www.happconsulting.com .

    Colleen offers free one hour consultations to show how an effective website can benefit your business. She can be reached at 403-807-8225.


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