When you are designing your website, keep in mind that your visitors will not all have the same screen size and internet connection speed. It's best practice to design your website with the most basic settings so all your visitors will have the same experience. Here's a few settings to keep in mind during the design process:

  • Screen resolution - You may have designed your website to be very "wide" (either due to a table or maybe a series of pictures), if your visitor has a small monitor or low resolution it will mean they have to scroll left to right to view your website.  Try to optimize your site so that visitors can see the entire width of your page without scrolling.  For a visual example, check out Google's Browser Size chart.
  • Internet speed - If you have a lot of flash or images on your website that causes your page to load slow, it will take some visitors with a slower Internet connection much longer to load your website.  While having flash and images are great, you will want to make sure to keep it to a level that will not scare away some potential visitors.  For help reducing your image sizes, please review our article on images causing websites to load slowly.
  • Browser used - It is important to test out your website in different browsers (particularly the most popular two - Internet Explorer and FireFox) to make sure that it renders the same way in each.  This is commonly referred to as cross browser compatibility. Not all browsers will show your web pages the same, so testing can be important.  Also, some versions of a browser will also display your website differently, for example Internet Explorer 6.0 vs. Internet Explorer 9.0. To be completely comprehensive, you may want to check your website in Google Chrome, Safari, and Opera as well. 

Remember when you design your site think about how it will appear to your potential visitors.  One way to do this is to have a friend or relative with different settings on their computer to view your website, or to change the resolution on your own monitor to see what your site looks like. If a visitor does not have a pleasant experience they will be less likely to return or tell others about your website.

Please check the next article on Effective Use of Links. For more information on this course please visit Website Design Best Practices.

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