Browser Dependence

With all the choices in web browser technology, it’s foolish that some designers feel compelled to create web pages that are “optimized” for a particular browser and display settings. There are two reasons that I can think of that they do this. One, they believe that most of the people who browse the World Wide Web have, by now, similar systems and use the popular browsers. Second, they feel no need to try and set up a site that can be viewed by anyone, i.e., they’re lazy. By doing this, what they are essentially telling me is: conform or die.

People use the software they use either because of system limitations or personal preference, so if you want them to visit your site then you should find a way to cater to them, and not the opposite. A platform independent, non-browser specific Internet site will give an advantage to those companies and individuals that take this course and avoid the easy “solution” to this issue.

When producing an online publication, you do not need to satisfy everyone — a quick check using analytical software will help narrow down the browser capabilities of your visitors – but you should make a valiant effort to do so. The best defense against browser dependency is to test your pages over and over in many different settings. For example, does it look the same in Internet Explorer as it does in FireFox or Chrome? How about if someone uses a greater resolution (1680×1050) versus a lesser one (1024×768), or is they are using a tablet or smartphone? Will people without Java or Javascript capabilities still enjoy your site? While you may not have the time or the resources to check every possibility, making an effort will pay off in the long run by attracting customers with different configurations to your site.