When you deal with web design and coding, you may often come across the terms “pixel” and “pixel perfect design”. Let’s find out what these terms mean and what are some advantages and disadvantages of pixel perfect design.
What Is a Pixel
A pixel is the smallest element on the computer (or any other) screen that cannot be divided, i.e. a dot. When we combine a lot of pixels, we get an image. The more pixels per unit area there are, the better the image quality is.
Every pixel has its own color, brightness, and, in some cases, transparency. When we change these parameters, we can create any picture we want.
Pixel Perfect Technique in Coding
When a website, a landing page, or an email layout is identical to the HTML template pixel by pixel, it’s clear that the coder used the Pixel Perfect technique. In this case, the deviation between the layout and the ready-made HTML template is 1-3 pixels (which is barely noticeable).
How to Understand That Your Design Is Pixel Perfect
Open the coding mode in your browser and place a half-transparent layout on top of the template. If you don’t see any differences and all the elements match perfectly, then the coder used the pixel perfect design.
When to Use Pixel Perfect Design
The main idea behind the technique is to get the exact match between the design and the code.
When a coder receives an email layout from a designer and starts coding, they may notice that:
- In some browsers, fonts look bolder or thinner. If a coder doesn’t pay attention to this detail, they may transfer the font from the layout to the template without any changes. As a result, the client may be disappointed that they haven’t got what they expected.
- A designer made mistakes in the layout. For example, they placed an icon on the left side of the layout instead of its center. Or the boundaries of the table are of a different size. The pixel perfect technique helps to notice such things and fix them before production.
That’s why pixel perfect design is used when a page must look equally beautiful in every browser: elements should have the same border sizes, and the fonts should have the same weight. Or when it’s necessary that your code exactly matches the layout.
Advantages of Pixel Perfect Design
The Client Gets What They Expected
The client discusses the layout with the designer and expects that the result will look the same. If the completed project differs from the layout, you’ll have to waste time and energy to explain why that happened.
Pixel perfect design allows you to avoid such situations because the page you created is fully in line with the layout.
Coding Gets Faster
You don’t need to switch between the browser and the email layout while writing code. All you have to do is open an HTML template and a page layout in the browser and then edit the code in the code inspector.
Disadvantages of Pixel Perfect Design
Pages Are Difficult to Change
In usual coding, all the elements of a website are divided into groups with similar styles. For example, lists or icons may have the same styles. When a coder needs to add a new element to a website, it makes their work much easier.
There are no groups in pixel perfect because each element has its style. That’s why creating a new web page and adding new sections to a website will take time and effort.
It’s not easy to support the already existing pages as well. If you add a new text block or any other element to a page, it will look like a mess.
That’s why you should use pixel perfect design for projects that will remain unchanged in the future, for example, emails.
Pages Are Not Responsive
The idea behind the pixel perfect design is that the page looks exactly the same both on mobile and desktop versions. So if you want to make the page mobile-friendly, you’ll have to create a separate version of it which is also time-consuming.
How to Create Pixel Perfect Design
If you want to create a pixel perfect template or a web page, you’ll need to download an extension. It allows you to add a half-transparent layout of a page over the HTML template and see the inconsistencies.
Let’s take a look at a free plugin for Google Chrome.
How to Download and Set Up an Extension for Google Chrome
Open your browser, go to the Chrome online store and write Perfect Pixel in the search bar.
Click on the extension, go to the next tab and choose “Add to Chrome”. When it’s been downloaded, open your HTML code in Google Chrome and click on the Perfect Pixel icon.
You’ll see the menu bar. Press on “Add your first layer!”
Upload a PNG template of a web page, align it to the layout and press the icon of a lock: now the image is blocked. Use sliders to change the level of transparency or contrast.
If you need to match the layout to the template, open the code inspector and edit it accordingly.
Pixel Perfect Design For Email Templates
It’s convenient to use pixel perfect design for email templates because you won’t need to change emails in the future. Thus, there won’t be any mess with the styles.
Pixel perfect design allows you to make your emails flawless: they look exactly like the layouts and display correctly across all devices and browsers.
Let’s Sum It Up
If you want to achieve total equality between the layout and your email template or a web page, you should start using pixel perfect design. This way, the client will get what they expected, and everybody will be happy.
Pixel perfect design can be pretty inconvenient when it comes to making large websites and web pages: it’s difficult to maintain the code when every element has its style.
However, it’s a very cool technique for coding email templates. They look just like the layout and display correctly across various browsers.