Designing for 'The Other' platform

by Joe Gillespie — Apr 1, 1999

Some very interesting facts emerged from the Web Page Design for Designers Survey. With well over five thousand responses so far, it shows that readers of this site are predominantly graphics designers, a disproportionate number of them use Macintosh computers and they prefer Netscape as their primary browser. However, general Web surfers tend to use Windows machines and recent figures show that Microsoft Internet Explorer has overtaken Netscape in the browser market.

What all this means, is that a significant number of people are designing under one set of circumstances - Mac/Netscape - yet their pages are mostly being viewed within another - PC/MsIE. This is not an ideal solution. I'm not suggesting that people ditch their beloved Macs or their preferred browser but they mustn't ignore the fact that the majority of surfers who view their sites are seeing something completely different from what was intended.

People designing Web pages on a PC have a pretty good idea what their audience are going to see. Only the very dedicated will even consider that there are people with Macintosh computers out there and put in that little extra effort to make sure that their pages look reasonable on a Mac screen also.

Had they worked in broadcast television or in professional music production, they would have a bank of different monitors representing a broad spectrum of viewing/listening situations. Sure, there are the state-of-the-art television monitors and highly accurate loudspeakers, but there are also some 'typical' and some 'worst case' models to see how program material degrades in real life situations.

Unless Mac designers are designing specifically for a Mac audience, they need to check what their pages look like on a PC too.

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