Why don’t my web pages look the same on every computer and in every browser?
There are three primary things which can cause your web pages to appear differently on different computers.
Your operating system is the software that runs your computer system. Windows is an example of an operating system. Each operating system has it’s own way of rendering web pages and even each version. So if you’re running Windows Vista and your friend is running Windows XP your pages may render differently.
Your browser is the software installed on your computer that let’s you browse the web. An example of a browser is Internet Explorer. Each browser has it’s own way of rendering web pages and even each version. So if you’re running Internet Explorer and yoru friend is running Firefox your pages my render differently.
Tip: Most internet users are running Internet Explorer or Firefox. Design your site in a way that looks appealing in both. You can test this by installing both Internet Explorer and Firefox.
Your display settings can cause your web pages to be displayed differently. For example: Most computer screens are currently set to display at a resolution of 1024×768 or better. So if you design your web page to use all the available space on your screen and you’re computer is set to 1024×768 and then you go to a friend’s and they’re display is set to 800×600 they will have to scroll to see portions of your page. This also works the other way. If you are running 1024×768 and design your web page to use all the available space on your screen and then go to a friend’s house and their display is set to 1900×1200 you will see a lot more space on their screen.
Tip: Most internet users are running their display at 1024×768 or better. So designing your site to look good in that resolution will typically result in a satisfactory view of your web pages.
Another factor which may affect they way your pages appear on different computers is your DPI setting. The vast majority of users have their DPI set to 96 DPI. Some users will change this to 120 DPI. The result of which is things appearing larger.
Tip: Design your site to look good with a setting of 96 DPI. Only a small fraction of users have adjusted this setting on their computer.
DPI settings are controlled in the display settings area of your operating system.