Home Blogs Perfection on the internet is a fallacy. Just accept it.

Perfection on the internet is a fallacy. Just accept it.


Six weeks ago, David Moore commenced his expose into the secrets of computer maintenance — rules that are carefully guarded or simply too embarrassing to share. This week, he shares the hard truth about one of the most common misunderstandings between techies and their clients: Perfection doesn’t exist on the web.

This rule is hard to digest if you have learnt your trade in a print dominated field. But it’s got to be said:

19. No matter how much effort you put into making a document or anything look perfect, it will always appear different on someone else’s computer or printed out.

Maybe I shouldn’t have used the word ‘perfect’. But it is not my choice. It is what I hear.

I am often asked:

“How do I guarantee that a document or email will look exactly the way I want on the recipient’s computer?”

My answer may sound unacceptable but you’ll have to accept it.

“You can’t!”

Even the Portable Document Format (PDF) can only do so much.

“But David, how can that be so?”

Well, let’s take the example of a corporate logo rendered in a set of very specific pantone colours. These colours are precisely defined by their component light wavelengths. Perfectly reproducible you may think.

But no. Let me show you why.

On the monitor you are looking at now press the menu button. You’ll see something like this:

Colour settings? What?

Yes, you can adjust the way your monitor displays colours. If you can do that the recipient of your document can do it also.

Now apply the same revelation to printers and their different inks, brands, papers and so on.

Right now, you are probably starting to think it is a miracle that your document would look anything like you intended, let alone approaching ‘perfection’ in any way.

Let it go. If you want your project completed in a timely fashion, move on.

Perfect in a literal sense is nonsense. It doesn’t exist. ‘Perfect’ as in ‘fit for its purpose’, on the other hand, is most definitely achievable.

David Moore has 25 years experience in the computer industry and is now Principle PC Hater at ihatemypc.com.au.