[thelist] pixel perfect requirements and web standards

chris lists at semioticpixels.com
Sun Jun 5 18:26:49 CDT 2005


Maybe someone has a good reality check for me before I burn bridges.

I've had the luxury of always working with designers who have some
knowledge of how websites work and I've never been required to build a
"pixel perfect" website. I've had a 3 month conversation with a designer
about web standards, open standards, open source etc. I'm now developing
his website which is also our first collaborative project and after
showing him an early html/css iteration discovered that he requires the
website production of his photoshop web design document be

In my estimation, the only way to make any website pixel perfect is to
either do it in images and tables or in flash. 

The html/css version looks great to me, but the nav. doesn't meet the
pixel perfect requirement. It's an unordered list and will always differ
from the psd by 1-3 pixels because you can't size things in pixel
fractions (e.g, if you have 5 nav elements of varying text length which
must all have identical distance from the text and border - without
access to fractions, it's mathematically impossible to make that "pixel
perfect" using css and html - there's always a remainder in the
division). There are some other issues with the design that more or less
call for a bunch of really large images.

So, the only way I know to meet that requirement is to either do the
site in images or in flash. My opinion is that if it's in images, it
might as well be in flash - flash is actually more accessible and more
se friendly than images are and supposedly the next release of flash
will be even more accessible and se friendly whereas images will always
be images.

In any case, his response when I suggested doing it in flash was to
essentially panic, suggest that he should take the project to someone
else who could "handle this sort of site" and to demand a more rigorous
daily reporting schedule. It's not a complex website and it has minimal
functionality most of which is a portfolio that we were already planning
to do in flash. If it did not have to be pixel-perfect it would take me
about 20 hours to build, fully test, and tweak it. Is his reaction a
common scenario with non-web savvy designers? 

The business case for web standards usually focuses upon business and
financial/maintenance benefits. What are some benefits to web standards
that would appeal to a print designer with a background in marketing? Is
anyone aware of any real statistics comparing standards and
non-standards based corporate websites? 

So, I'm asking for a reality check - 

If you build mostly standards-based websites, how do you handle
pixel-perfect requirements? 

what are your opinions regarding flash vs. image-based/table-based

How do you communicate with a designer who truly does not understand the
difference between a browser that renders a website and the photoshop

The website audience is corporate and uses browsers and operating
systems that are 3 years old at most - if their gear is 3 years old,
they're likely to upgrade in the next year so backward compatibility is
less of an issue.

Thanks for your thoughts

- chris

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