Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Small Business Web Smarts – What is cross-browser viewing?

The Internet changes rapidly. When the web browser was first introduced, you had only one web browser. Today, you not only have different organizations with different browsers but you also have different flavors of the browser.

Do you think your web site looks the same across all browsers? Think again.

The added complexity is that with hardware getting cheaper and cheaper every day, monitors are getting bigger too,. So what does this mean to you? Well, this means that your web site needs to accommodate different resolutions as well.

Most small business owners never even consider this aspect to their web site. This is because most web designers design with one size. This is generally 800 x 600. So how does this affect your web site? If you have a wide screen, your web site will look squished to the top left. The higher the monitor resolution, the smaller your site will look. You will also start seeing a lot of “problems” (for example, graphics that are repeated across your screen and are not meant to be) if you have a wider monitor and are viewing in a resolution higher than 800 x 600.

Sounds bad, eh? Is there anything you can do? Yes, you can. Read on to learn.

For starters, simply knowing about this problem makes you better than 75% of the other businesses that are not aware. Now you can take corrective action with your web designer or web design company.

When you negotiate your contract with a web design company, ensure you let them know you are aware of this problem and tell them you would like your web site to be fluid. What do I mean by this? Well, to state it simply, your web site design and content adjust themselves to your visitors browser and screen resolution. And how is this accomplished? Well, using what is commonly called as “CSS” or Cascading Style Sheets. If you would like to learn more about this interesting technique, contact us and we’ll be glad to provide more details.

The other problem is that most web designers “test” only on their computers. As a result, they generally design in the resolution their monitors are set to; not their target customers. Wouldn’t it be nice to see how your web site would look at different resolutions? Well, I can point you to one web site that will let you type in a web address (URL) and select a particular screen resolution. It will then take your web address and “simulate” the look at the selected resolution. And the magic address is:

Have fun testing your web site.

Till next time,

Elvin Picardo
Delivering Net Results to Small Business
Author of numerous articles on web development and Internet Marketing for small business
10723 159th St, Surrey, BC V4N 3J1 Canada


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