Recent advances in programming technology and design softwares have allowed web designers a great deal of freedom in current years. Inspired designers coupled with these advancements have given businesses over the years the ability to create an online space that truly reflects them as a firm, showcasing products and services, and even e-commerce sites that massively cut down costs of expensive outlets. Although there is more freedom for designers to produce all kinds of sites, there are still barriers that severely limit that which can be produced.
As I am creating an online portfolio for myself, it is vital that I know the limitations of the web before I begin, so the problems that I come across can hopefully be limited.
1. Web Colour:
Unlike the well known CMYK (Cyan Magenta Yellow Key/Black) colours that can be used for production on screen for print distribution, RGB (Red Green Blue) colours must be used when producing a piece of work on screen, for distribution on screen. Although this is not a big issue, because most design software simply has an option to tick for CMYK/RGB, it is of great importance to remember. If something has been produced in CMYK colours for distribution on screen, the colours that have been chosen will not be displayed on all devices as you have intended.
2. Web Safe Fonts:
One of the most basic aspects of web-design, choosing a typeface for the site, is also one of a website’s most limiting features. Fonts are collected in families (e.g. Arial, Helvetica, Verdana) so that if a user’s device cannot display the intended typeface, a similar backup typeface will be displayed in its place. However, this substitution will cause distortions for anyone viewing the site, with misaligned text, or a whole different visual style that will create an entirely different look to the site.
3. Security And Speed:
It has been a problem for website designers of past, of present, and will definitely be a problem for web designers in the future - the speed of the viewer’s internet. Although dial-up speeds of 256kb/s have long since gone, sites that are fully interactive and animated can put a real strain on viewer’s bandwidth, and can create a jerky experience for some users. A site must always be developed with the users that have the slowest internet in mind, if not, there will always be a percentage of viewers that will simply not have access to your site.
Security is a major concern for internet users that log into e-commerce sites, we hear everyday stories about identity theft and user data that has been hacked. If you are creating a shopping site, you will be limited to using applications that the user trusts, giving them and their data a safe experience when on the site. Add-ons must also be avoided, as some can become backdoors into the site, which can later become unstoppable holes leaving the information stored on site vulnerable to theft.
4. Browser And Display Limitations:
How the website is finally displayed is going to serve as one of the main design problems for any designer, getting the site functioning on IE, Firefox, Safari and Chrome is a battle that can take up a lot of time and effort. On top of this, the site has to look good on a mobile device too. However, the time spent perfecting the display of the site is not time wasted, because the more compatible that your site is, the more users that you can service.
Similar to this problem, sites must be able to scale to fit different screen resolutions; a site that looks great on the 27” iMac that you designed it on, might have both vertical and horizontal scrollbars for someone looking at it on their 13” laptop - which would make the site completely unusable for anyone without a 27” screen.