"Best Viewed" Messages - Instruction or Excuse?

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A common line written at the bottom of many professional, and not so professional websites is the ?best viewed? line. This is an instruction to site readers that they can best see the site in question with a specific screen resolution. The ?best viewed? line is still used today, but is it an instruction or an excuse? Most advanced designers believe it to be an excuse.

I?m not talking quite so much about ?best viewed with macromedia flash? or ?best viewed with windows media payer? phrases. Unfortunately it?s a fact of life that people still don?t have these programmes installed on their machines, and as such need pointing in the right direction. It is the ?best viewed on an X by X screen resolution? tag line that?s at issue here.

?Best viewed with?? is an excuse that lets the designer get away with not providing a site that can be seen properly by the masses. If you surf your way to the Orange website, or the KFC website, or any major companies website you wont see this excuse.They have spent time to create, or commission someone to create, a site that is versatile enough to cope with more than one screen resolution.

In this modern age where sites are being viewed on palm tops, a wide range of monitor sizes, and other equipment, it doesn?t make sense to design a site that has a specific viewer in mind.If you want your site to reach and please a wide audience it is necessary to build a page that will resize depending on resolution, and stay in one piece.

Quite often the ?best viewed with? phrase is an excuse that tells us the site was probably designed without this consideration, and is an attempt to cover the fact that if you alter the size of the page on your display, it will likely transform into a hideous wreck of code and graphics before your very eyes.

If you must use the phrase ?best viewed with? then make it a choice for the viewer rather than a condition. If your site is 99% Flash and looks stunning, you should still take the time to create a less graphical, text based site for viewers who are new to the web, don?t have flash, or dare not download it.

The internet is part of the WORLD Wide Web so make sure the world can enjoy your site!

Publication Date: Thursday 31st July, 2003
Author: Scott Felstead View profile

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