Sunday, May 23, 2010

Designing for print versus designing for online

There are various different things that you need to consider when designing for print and online documents. The importance of designing a document and making it appropriate for the selected medium is vital, as it can make or break the point that the designer is trying to articulate.

Imagine late at night when you’re surfing the internet clicking onto a website only to have it flashing bright colours into your face. An animated background pulsates in front of you, while an array of different colours and fonts hide the information that you are desperately looking for. This is the mistake that many people make when they design for an online document. Designing for the web is quite different from designing for print, as looking at a computer screen is different to looking at a piece of paper. When choosing colours and fonts it is important to determine whether the page is ‘printer friendly’, that is, will the page be easy to read if it were to be printed out.

Another thing to avoid when designing for the web is multi-column pages. Although this concept works in print, as the use of two or more columns makes good use of all of the available space, this does not mean it will be good for online documents. The typical computer monitor rarely shows the whole top and bottom of the page, therefore making the viewer have to scroll up and down multiple times if there is a multi-column layout.

Another vital thing to consider when designing a document is the intended audience. It is important to consider exactly who will be looking at the document, as different age, gender and preference groups will perceive different layouts differently. This could affect not only the way you present the information, but where you place things, colour schemes and font types.

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