Mark E. Buckley

Site Looks Different

Why does my web site look different on different computers?

This can be caused by several different factors. In reality your web site will look slightly different on every computer. However, it should be design to look fairly similar on every computer.

Each computer has different fonts installed on it. Fonts are made available to a computer by the different software that are installed on the computer. If your site is utilizing unique fonts, then some computers will not display them. If your site is designed with basic fonts, then the site will look the same on most computers. If your web designer utilizes a unique font, they will usually use a secondary or tertiary font that looks similar to the desired font. If the computer does not have the first, second or third fonts listed, then it will use the default font. This might be Arial, Times New Roman, etc. depending on what computer the visitor is using.

The background might have a slightly different color. This is like watching a movie on a flat screen TV versus a Plasma TV versus a high definition TV versus a regular TV. The differences should be slight but you can notice it if you look at two computers side by side. A consistent look can be achieved if your web designer restricts colors to web safe colors. We don't see this as overly necessary. Some colors like earth tones might have more problems than others.

Computers can have different resolutions. If the resolution is low then the visitor is only seeing a portion of the full page. If the resolution is very high then everything will look very small. The only thing the web designer can do is to design the site around the most common resolution which is 1024 x 768.

Not every computer has every bit of the lastest software. If your web site has flash or java plug ins, there is no guarantee that your visitor has the software to view those elements.

Visitors will use different web browsers like Internet Explorer, Netscape and Firefox. To complicate things further these browsers come in different versions. The most current versions are 6.0 but some folks might have 4.0 browsers. The older browsers might not interpret everything correctly. Even if the visitor has the most current browser, each browser interprets certain things like CSS, DHTML, and Java Script differently. Your web designer can not include those things that they know are interpreted differently or he can do some coding acrobatics to accomodate each browser.