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The Latest Technology Will Reduce your Web-site Revenues

Do you want most computer owners to be able to read your web pages? Or, will you demand they accommodate you by adjusting to your browser, plug-ins and software before they can use your site?

In the competition to earn your web design business, you will be offered a wide range of technology choices like cold-fusion, Java, Flash etc., etc., etc. as if they are assets and "better". Are they?

To be sure, older browsers frequently won't support new features but a snap decision not to cater to those who "can't keep up" is a costly one. Of the millions of computers in existence a remarkably small percentage are configured for large screens, high end audio cards and fast Internet connections. Many computer users still use the browsers that cam with their computers when they bought them. For some computer users that was in 1995.

Most consumers accessing the Internet are doing it with low-tech equipment. 93% of net surfers get online with a 56kbps modem or slower. A whopping 47% are using a 33.6Kbps or slower connection. That means you may wan to be considerate of people using such a modem since most people will wait a maximum of 30 seconds for a page to load before going elsewhere. In short you have to decide whether you want to have that web site generate revenues or serve as a "state of the art technology" accessible only to a small elite percentage of your potential audience.

The level of audience penetration your site can offer will be determined by the technical choices you make at the earliest stages of your web site development. You will have to decide what screen sizes you will support. In the case of Lukas, a high tech IT ERP Boeing Subcontractor, the size of the web pages made in the spring of 2000 support a twelve inch screen. designed its site to accommodate Netscape 1.22, a browser which hasn't been available for more than five years. That should tell you that it is smart to realize that every visitor you turn away due to technical incompatibility means revenues lost.

You will also need to decide what browsers your site will look good in and what software you will require your "visitors" to use. Each decision you make could exclude some of your potential customers from your web pages. Unless you site does something truly amazing, computer users will leave, when confronted with error messages or an unresponsive system. People find plug-ins a nuisance. A two megabyte plug-in requires ten minutes to download, after which a user will have to install the software and reboot the computer. Only a small faction of your customers will ever put up with this sort of consumption of their time.

Remember your decision to develop a web-site is motivated by a desire to get the extra cash flow it promises. You have to balance the design constraints of 3.4, 4.0, 5.0 browser versions with windows, Mac and Linux operating systems, as well as with different plug-in. For maximum compatibility, your site must be tested with a many different combinations of these characteristics as possible. A site with a flash plug-in may look good in Netscape on an iMac but may be unusable on an older Windows 95 PC with a small monitor.

Design your site with the SIC code of your industry in mind and the method of anticipated transactions. A B2B site marketing OEM products or industrial commodities, functioning by Letter of Credit has entirely different requirements for hardware, software AND compatibility assumptions then a B2C consumer products site operating with credit-card payment systems. Design for smaller monitor screens. Newer browsers will display the page perfectly while computer users with large screens will be able to resize their browser windows to taste. Most of my business B2b sites were made on a Netscape Gold browser 3.0 (prior to communicator) and were made with the editor which made the HTML from regular text without any HTML specialized knowledge.

Catering to customers with older browsers is unfashionable to web designers and some compute programmers who pride themselves on their knowledge of Front page, Dreamweaver, Fireworks, Cold Fusion, Windows NT, SQL server, ASP, LiveWire, Broad Vision, Visual Studio, Oracle, Java Script, Access, Quark XPress, DHMTL, XML, Java, VBScript, SActiveX, Perl, Sockets, ISPAI, NSAPI. Their knowledge of these technologies is what differentiates them from their competition...other programmers. Their interests may be to preserve that differentiation in your mind. Your interests are to use only what you need. whether or not "less" makes other programmers eligible and competent to take good care of you, is not an issue for you and should not be made one for anyone serving your best interests. The cost of a simple page may be $240 a page ( 8 hours @ $30 per hour) compared to a data-base interactive site with all the bells and whistles which may cost $1200 per page (12 hours @ $100 per hour).

It is easy to dismiss backward compatibility as being too limiting, but the reality of it is that you don't want to send a message to your potential customers that you think their systems are out of date

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Palms & Company, Inc. Founded 1934
Palms Bayshore Building, Penthouse Suite #408 West Wing 
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