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Browser Elitism

April 3, 2005

The other day I was was encouraging a client to demonstrate their software’s front end web interface in Firefox rather than in Internet Explorer. (After all, I am all for getting clients on board using Firefox for their product demonstrations in sales calls or in meetings and for every day use.)

We were looking at a form that had a group of radio buttons for a choice, with a short paragraph nested below the label to further explain that particular choice. I implemented a :hover CSS effect on the div that I had used to encapsulate the radio button, the label, and the explanatory paragraph, which would only work properly in a “good” browser.

Progressive Enhancement

I believe in Progressive Enhancement — the form worked perfectly in Internet Explorer, but browsers that allowed for advanced CSS effects like using the :hover pseudo-class on elements other than <a>…</a> would have the added bonus that it a) looks nicer, and b) more clearly associates the paragraph with the choice before. When a user mouses over the div, a background image and border appear making it more obvious that the relationship existed.

So, as I explained to the client that it works fine in Internet Explorer, but works better in Firefox, something didn’t feel quite right. I asked myself the following question:

If it is worthwhile and useful to use the effect for Firefox users, shouldn’t it be worth the extra effort to implement similar for IE users, even if it means a tiny bit of JavaScript? Am I really adding this because it is a useful feature, or am I adding it because it’s cool, and I want the world to switch to a better browser? And if it is just because it’s cool, and not because it is useful, should I even bother in the first place?

Is this common?

I rarely use IE for my daily web needs – I really only keep it around because of the need to test, and that whole “market share” thing they have going on. I was surprised, though, when I fired up IE and cruised around a bit looking at various sites. Many of them just simply don’t deal with IE well; most notably :hover and :focus CSS effects on form elements and other areas like lists of blog comments.

For example, highlighting the current form field with a :focus pseudo-class is not just a “cool” thing – it actually improves the usability of the form. If it makes the form more usable, shouldn’t we be providing that usability enhancement for everyone, despite what we might personally think of the browsers that the bulk of our users might actually be using?

Do we need to put our wishes (or even, perhaps, egos) aside to make things better for everyone possible, even if they don’t use a cool geeky browser like those of us that build the sites?

45 Responses

Comment by Lachlan Hunt — Apr 03 2005 @ 10:01 pm

Personally, I don’t believe in taking time to fix a site for a broken browser, unless it is necessary for accessibility. If the feature does indeed improve usability for those using a browser that supports it, the question is, is it detrimental in any way for those that don’t? It is not in this case, so I would not waste time to fix a problem that should be fixed by the browser vendor.

If your considering fixing it anyway, ask yourself if you would even bother doing so if the browser had a significantly smaller market share of, say, less than 5%? For accessibility reasons, I probably would; but just for some eye candy like this, I wouldn’t.

Comment by Maxine — Apr 03 2005 @ 10:19 pm

It’s a good question that I think a lot of us haven’t asked ourselves over the last year or so. I must admit I haven’t ever actually applied this to any decisions of my own, but having read Derek’s post above, I think it behoves you to ask the following the next time this arises: (actually, you could probably turn this into some sort of flow chart).

1. do I think this is just eye candy, or does it aid accessiblity/usability/branding so much that I really need to think about implementing it for IE.

2. how much time and energy is it going to take to implement it for IE? (probably should be preceded by “how much time or energy is it going to take me to think of a way to implement this for IE?) We all know how finite time and energy is, no matter how big or small your team.

3. how much code overhead and hackery is it going to take?

At first I responded with horror to Derek’s idea above of using Javascript to implement an equivalent for :hover and :focus CSS effects. But if this could be done easily and with little overhead, and your answer to question 1 is yes, then you really have to think about doing it.

Comment by Andrew Krespanis — Apr 03 2005 @ 10:42 pm

concur++;
If it’s good for the goose (fox), it’s good for the grotesque freak in the corner that we’d like to lock in the dungeon (IE ;)

Personally, I do go to the extra effort of replicating form :focus for IE6, but to heck with the earlier versions.

Comment by Nathan — Apr 04 2005 @ 12:23 am

I think that this is a good, but dangerous question. I have been asking myself these types of questions, but in a different way.

Does CSS help make the website more usable: Yes.
Then why do I not code a version of the site in tables so that Netscape 4 will look ok?

Does loading images for a slideshow without refreshing the page make a page more useable: Indeed.

I decide how far I am willing to go without incurring an extra cost on me, my clients, and other’s bandwidth.

I think that if the addition you made is necessary for IE, then implement it.

It’s about giving people what you can in the amount of time you have…

So you see, we are making these types of decisions already, we only have forgotten to make them about the simple things. Data input is a big thing and deserves to be well thought out.

Comment by Jon Hicks — Apr 04 2005 @ 3:26 am

Thats interesting, I was having the same dilemma last Friday for exactly the same reasons – hover enhancements on form fields. In the end my feeling was that I have to spend a long time fixing stuff to work in IE as it is – they ain’t getting more of my time! Life is too short for shitty browsers, and thats not just elitism, just a practical “how time can I spend on this, and how much of that can I charge the client”. I guess that attitude has a detrimental effect on the poor guy actually trying to use the site though!

Comment by patrick h. lauke — Apr 04 2005 @ 5:25 am

as with everything, i’d say it depends on the specific situation and target audience. obviously, if the site is aimed at “cutting edge” web developers (like your site here *smile*), you can expect a lower percentage of visitors using IE. on any commercial site with a general audience in mind, you should really make an effort to make as much as possible also work with IE.

Comment by Tony — Apr 04 2005 @ 6:52 am

I wouldn’t use the audience alone to measure as a gauge to do the extra effort to add in the scripts or not. I think it’s more than that. How important are those fields? Important enough to spend the extra time to get the enhancements implemented? Do you have the time? Billable time? There are ton more questions, but those are the core of them.

I run into this all the time. I _could_ do it better, but it’ll take longer. Well, longer isn’t an option. Even a couple of hours longer isn’t always an option.

A quick, partial fix that’s available to half your users is better than none. And that’s the choice I’ve run across more than once.

Comment by Meri — Apr 04 2005 @ 7:03 am

Firstly, just to let you know, I came here via Bloglines (someone linked to you in one of my feeds) and got served your “OMG you’re a spammer” page. I’m not. I promise.

As for your post, I think it’s an interesting question. I think that there’s another angle to this though: If things don’t look cooler/funkier/work better in one of the “better” browsers, will the non-geeks switch at all?

Is it better to do great things in a standards-based way and then focus on getting users to try an alternative browser to see how great it is, or to provide the same user experience to ever browser?

Comment by Jesse — Apr 04 2005 @ 8:18 am

You can’t have a good browser war without a ‘best viewed in’ statement now can you? ;) Lets hope we can.

It is hard to justify the effort… suppose you need to do it for yourself over anyone else. In the case of being a consultant, how do you tell your client that it took another couple hours to make it look pretty in a broken browser???

Comment by Emily — Apr 04 2005 @ 8:34 am

Question: how many clients can be shown websites that look stunning and usable in Firefox and merely adequate in IE before there’s a revolt?

Don’t you think we -ought- to be making pages just a little bit sharper, just a little bit better, just a little bit easier to understand in IE?

How does the general maxim go — 20% of a dev’s time is spent making it work, and 80% is spent making it work in IE? How long before the suits realize that 80% of their employees’ time is being spent on an utterly broken browser? Why aren’t huge companies who employ thousands of web devs revolting? Why aren’t they calling out MS on this?

(Sorry. I -have- to support IE back to 4, so I get a little reactionary and “let’s toss pipe bombs at Redmond” about it.)

Comment by Robin — Apr 04 2005 @ 9:21 am

Back to 4? Ouch…

Generally I agree with Jon Hicks on this one – usually any extra bits like :focus get added into the sites I do as an enhancement for sane browsers if I have time. Building them so that they work in IE as well would take time that I usually don’t have to spend.

On the other hand, sometimes you want consistancy. The designer for a recent project came back to me and asked me to make the top left corner of the content box rounded. There was no easy way to get it working for a number of reasons in IE that late in the project, but a quick border-radius and -moz-border-radius fixed it in Firefox. In the end though we dumped it for the aforementioned consistency factor.

Comment by Daniel Morrison — Apr 04 2005 @ 9:30 am

I’ve had this dilemma too, and with :hover effects.

My solution? I added some JS for IE where it was needed, but ignored it elsewhere. I ask whether it is a necessary feature, or just a nice visual perk. For form :hovers, I’m not sure the accessibility helps are worth making it work in IE.

Personally, I like it when ‘happy’ browsers get some extra (standards-compliant) perks. Hopefully, it will slowly and subversively get people to see the difference.

“Hey, this site doesn’t have all this cool stuff in IE!”

Comment by Derek Featherstone — Apr 04 2005 @ 9:59 am

Great comments all — I guess for me it comes down to two things:

  1. Really asking myself “Is it a usability enhancement?”, and
  2. What type of site is it?

If it is truly a usability enhancement, I’ll script a solution for IE as well because it makes the user experience better. I’m thinking mostly of web applications here, but I’m not really willing to not make something as usable as I can when I know very well I can make it work in IE.

I find it ironic that we’ve been fighting against sites that discriminate against browser for years, yet it almost seems we do the same thing simply because we want people to switch browsers. How can we honestly justify it, especially for things that really aren’t that tough to support with a little script?

If it is a personal site, then I’m not very likely to add support for IE. If it is a web app though, or a client site, I likely will.

I’m not so sure about people “seeing the light” by comparing how sites work in multiple browsers. How many people other than those in the web industry really use more than one browser? I suspect they’ll never know the difference…

Comment by paul haine — Apr 04 2005 @ 10:32 am

If it’s something as simple as adding a :hover effect to something then I don’t see it as a big concern, simply because the Suckerfish suite of javascripts make it so quick and easy to do. A quick conditional comment so that only IE loads the script and you’re done – about 10-15 minutes work usually, at most.

Comment by ghola — Apr 04 2005 @ 11:23 am

I’d be on the lazy side here. Adding a :hover is terribly easy. And that’s also what CSS is about.

It doesn’t make sense do add script for such a feature. People don’t want a good browser. They don’t want accessibility and usability. Well some do, they don’t use IE.

When in five years IE7 has finished replacing IE6 and still doesn’t support CSS2.1 fully, I’m not going to be coding/scripting for IE all the CSS3 features that come naturally in all other browsers.

Comment by patrick h. lauke — Apr 04 2005 @ 11:47 am

emily wrote

Question: how many clients can be shown websites that look stunning and usable in Firefox and merely adequate in IE before there’s a revolt?

the revolt will happen, but it will be a revolt of the clients demanding that the stunning, usable enhancements be incorporated in the IE version as well.

yes, maybe you can convince clients that Firefox and co. are better…but then what? should they in turn then convince all their customers to use it? there seems to be a slight gap in that logic. your clients will look at their target audience, and base decisions on that…

Comment by Caleb Maclennan — Apr 04 2005 @ 1:19 pm

RE: is the cost of porting really that high?

I think this is a very relevant problem to consider, and from a purely theoretical standpoint I would argue that it in most cases it is NOT worth the development time to implement things in bad browsers that are so simple in good ones.

From a practical standpoint however, it is incredibly easy these days to get the basics working right. Projects like IE7 make porting standards compliant xhtml/css bassed websites to non-compliant browsers a snap. Porting a development website to ie usually takes about a minute and a half:

$ cd project_direcotry
$ wget http://heanet.dl.sourceforge.net/sourceforge/ie7/IE7_0_7_3.zip
$ unzip IE*zip
$ vim html_template_file
# add line to head:
<!–[if lt IE 7]><script src=”/ie7/ie7-standard-p.js” type=”text/javascript”></script><![endif]–>
# save and close
# refresh and test in browser…

Using hacks like this allows me to use good development standards, support sketchy browsers, and as browsers like IE improve their support for standards, everything will fall into place.

Comment by Jason — Apr 04 2005 @ 5:18 pm

I’ve been asking myself these questions for months. Of course, I code for IE if it’s necessary for usability. However, there’s another issue here that is related to the “seeing the light” comment. It’s about subtly convincing the general public that IE is not the best browser. If you look at microsoft.com in IE6/Win, it looks and functions slightly better than it does in Firefox. I don’t think that’s just a coincidence or an accident.

It’s not as easy as you might think to tell non-technical people why Firefox is better. They’ve been using IE (or “the internet” as they call it) for a long time, and it’s comfortable to them. Now, if they test-drive Firefox and find that some of the sites they use seem a little nicer, that’s going to make an impression – even more than something like tabbed browsing or increased security.

I want more people to use Firefox; therefore, I am going to try to help with marketing it to the general public. One of the best ways to do that is to make sure that people will have a good (better) experience when they try it. It’s just like people baking food right before they show their house to prospective buyers so it smells like home.

The more web sites that add a little extra niceness to non-IE visitors, the better the chances are that people will switch. We won’t be able to convince everyone that IE is not secure or not advanced when Microsoft spends millions or billions of dollars in advertising telling people the contrary. But we can make use of existing standards to ensure that people like what they see through Firefox/Safari/etc. It will make people want to switch away from IE and/or encourage Microsoft to provide that functionality in IE7. Both of which are good things.

Comment by patrick h. lauke — Apr 04 2005 @ 5:24 pm

Jason wrote

I want more people to use Firefox; therefore, I am going to try to help with marketing it to the general public. One of the best ways to do that is to make sure that people will have a good (better) experience when they try it.

but again, that is your agenda. unless the client you’re building the site for has the same agenda, i’d be surprised if they tell anything other than “so you’re saying that 10% of our visitors will get a better experience than the other 90% – including our company’s CEO, who uses IE 5?” (assuming a fairly general usage site, not one targetted specifically at the type of users that would naturally be using alternative browsers)

Comment by Jason — Apr 04 2005 @ 7:20 pm

Let me rephrase:

I want to promote the adoption of browsers that offer increased functionality through better standards support.

And I’m not necessarily talking about selling a client on this. I’m not even talking about involving the client in this decision. If I have the time (usually my own time as there is rarely extra time in the budget) to add a little extra functionality for non-IE users, I will – even if the client never notices. I think it’s for the good of the web community. And if a client ever found out that I’ve added extra functionality to their site on my own time or within the original budget, I doubt that they would mind.

Always designing for IE’s limited capabilities is not being very fair to the developers of other browsers who worked hard to produce a product that supports standards. I think that ignoring their efforts will only discourage better browser development.

Comment by Woolly Mittens — Apr 04 2005 @ 11:48 pm

I know this is just an example, but in this case it only takes one event handler to compensate for the lack of :hover.

By chance I have been playing around for a day making a multi-level foldout menu using nothing but :hover.
In the end I had to add those event handlers for MSIE, since there’d be no way a customer would pay for a broken menu.

Comment by Tommy Olsson — Apr 05 2005 @ 1:30 am

As you know, Derek, I firmly believe in accessibility. That, to me, means equal access to content, not necessarily identical designs. Using enhancements in modern browsers, with graceful degradation in older browsers, is perfectly acceptable as long as those enhancements are not vital. If they improve usability, but the page still works without them, it’s OK to let IE display a not-so-rich page, I think

We, as web developers and designers, usually want our users to move on to better browsers like Firefox, Opera and Safari. But as long as we keep catering to the old dinosaurs, we delay this migration process.

Having said that, I can understand that it is sometimes necessary to pamper IE. If you’re running a business site with stiff competition, that may be the edge you need to gain that crucial percentage point over your competitors. Sad, but true.

Comment by Malarkey — Apr 05 2005 @ 8:40 am

For one ;) I couldn’t agree more Tommy Olsson last comment. It’s an approach we now take as a matter of course.

Comment by Nico — Apr 05 2005 @ 9:22 am

Bah! Why bother making it work now?

Use it in the pitch; “…and when IE finally catches up, you won’t have to do ANY extra work…”.

Comment by John — Apr 05 2005 @ 11:10 am

Jason: “I want to promote the adoption of browsers that offer increased functionality through better standards support. [even if the client never notices]”

- If the client won’t notice why would anyone else?

Tommy O: “But as long as we keep catering to the old dinosaurs, we delay this migration process.”

Relating that statement to Jasons: what makes you think that this stuff has any effect on migration to the average user?

Did all these people migrate from Netscape to IE because it was so much better, more standards compliant, and the web community stoppe dsupporting Netscape (oh wait.. they didn’t)?

No. People switched to IE because it came with their operating system, and not downloading a browser is easier than downloading one.

Browser Features, not websites, make people switch. Tabbed browsing and better security will get you more Firefox users any day, that and an ad in the NYT. The whole reason for “site view better in…” statements is that without them people would never even know they were getting a lesser experience.

What’s so ironic about this all is how complete a reversal it is from the IE growth days when the web community hung on to supporting Netscape well after it was clearly dead.

What we have is total browser elitism, so much so it would be worthy of a dictionary.com update.

Sucks to be in the majority.

[loving the live preview (and the article) Derek!]
john.,

Comment by rob-ot — Apr 05 2005 @ 11:20 am

I started my templating for a new website some day’s ago, and all went well.
It even went that good that I was a bit over-enthousiastic so I mailed the url to my client for a sneyk-preview.

But damn, as usual, I forgot to ‘test’ the website in IE as well (I hate this fixing job and I start building for standard browsers first, and then i’ll fix all that need to be fixed)

The only thing i could do is send him another mail, asking him for
a) not loo at the website when (i know he uses IE) or
b) please, please install for ex. Firefox to get the whole-effect.

Well, this kind of situations sucks, I don’t blame IE (Yes i do, but it is not professional to do so)

And I know, at the end of this job, I will skip some features for IE (not if they need to be fixed for a better use of the website) but all other bugs, well funk that. The sun is shining and I won’t skip the sun for a buggy browser.

Comment by goodwitch — Apr 05 2005 @ 4:22 pm

Squirm…damn you Derek…you ask really tough questions.

If you were asking me about 508 accessibility, my answer would clearly be that I must pay attention to the screenreaders my clients are actually using. The core functionality has to be available.

But when it comes to IE, the playing field isn’t level. So, I’ll stick to my convictions and say, design first for standards compliant browsers. Make sure the core functionality works in the other dogs. And based on what little time (if any) is left…adjust the “frosting” features for IE.

Comment by Dustin — Apr 06 2005 @ 12:57 am

I admit my elite FF nature. You’ve pinned it right on. I think I should change my ways because I hate it when Mac users act all “ooh,ahh, I use a mac…get a better computer you MS users!”

Nothing worse than Mac elitists go off on why their computer is going to rule the world.

What it all comes down to is that FF is easy to use and convert to. Converting to an entirely new operating system is NOT quite as easy for normal folk. Even developers cringe the idea of “Making the Switch.”

Point being, people associate “switching browsers” like having to relearn a whole new system. So, taking that into consideration, one really shouldn’t do things because (like you said) “it’s cool,” but for real usability and accessibility purposes.

Comment by Tommy Olsson — Apr 06 2005 @ 2:26 am

John: You are right that it has very little effect on users’ migration from IE to better browsers. But “very little” is not the same as “none at all”.

Sticking with what comes with your computer is the natural thing to do for most humans outside of the computer geek community. The only thing that can affect that (apart from retailers preinstalling alternate browsers) would be frequent strong incentives. Like Google and Amazon.com switching to full-blown CSS2 and adding a “Best viewed in…” statement that excludes IE. :) That’s not going to happen anytime soon, though.

But let’s face it: lack of support on popular sites does influence people’s browser choice. I know I finally gave in and switched from Netscape to IE when enough sites stopped working properly in the former. I don’t advocate designing sites that break in IE (that’s inaccessible), but using progressive enhancement and graceful degradation is a more subtle way to achieve things. Drops of water eventually wear down stone.

I generally don’t approve of “Best viewed in…” statements as such, but in an “About the Site” page, you can explain that there are more features available in modern, standards-compliant browsers. Some people do read those, actually. At our office, we’ve received tons (well, quite a few, anyway) emails from Mac users commending us for our phrasing.

Comment by Rob — Apr 06 2005 @ 7:46 am

Derek said:

“I find it ironic that we’ve been fighting against sites that discriminate against browser for years, yet it almost seems we do the same thing simply because we want people to switch browsers. How can we honestly justify it, especially for things that really aren’t that tough to support with a little script?”

John said:

“What’s so ironic about this all is how complete a reversal it is from the IE growth days when the web community hung on to supporting Netscape well after it was clearly dead.”

As I recall, the move to IE began, not only when the browser came loaded with the OS, but also when more and more developer’s began tapping and extending IE’s proprietary hooks. The use of these hooks left Netscape user’s out in the cold.

Move forward to 2005. Today, we have defined web standards that have are available to all web browser developer teams; yet, only one, M$, has opted not to adopt these standards. Why is that? Should we drag them in from the cold when they have been invited in?

IMO, we need to be true to the standards. Until we do so, these questions will continue to arise.

Comment by Garrett — Apr 06 2005 @ 11:36 am

I don’t know if the example you provided is the best possible example because it’s not overly important. However, I believe that there’s nothing wrong with implementing simple enhancements that will theoretically work someday on all browsers.

It’s not elitist, it’s an added bonus. Nothing should be broken in another browser, but if it works marginally better in one browser just from a couple of lines of code, go for it. Someday it may or may not work in IE, but it won’t hurt anything.

Comment by Matthew Raymond — Apr 07 2005 @ 8:17 am

I think we’re making this too complicated. Browser elitism is favoring a specific browser over all others. Supporting Web standards is not browser elitism. Adding special support to IE to get around its poor Web standards implementations is browser elitism.

Now, naturally, it is somewhat elitist to create pages that, although they are completely standards-compliant, don’t work on IE at all. However, we can’t say what a specific vendor will support tomorrow (even though we may have a good idea). By contrast, the standards for HTML, CSS and Javascript will still be there tomorrow.

So what we really need to ask is when it becomes necessary to add support for a majority browser, even one with poor standards support. It’s really a judgment call.

Comment by Ian Lloyd — Apr 14 2005 @ 2:42 am

Derek, I believe it’s a nice-to-have and wouldn’t necessarily spend ages to make it backwards compatible. But then again, I don’t have to – ‘cos I already did the work to get it behaving the same in IE some time ago :-D

Oops, emoticon … and there we were talking about accessibility. Bad Ian

Back on track then … On Accessify’s forms, there is a colour change when you TAB through form elements. In ‘good’ browsers, it’s pure CSS – your original background colour in the form returns when you tab out of it. I haven’t used the hover pseudo class, just focus. In IE, it relies on JavaScript to change the colour to a new colur, then back to a default. If I change my CSS I have to remember to change any hex values in that script.

Anyway, I’ll not post the code here, but anyone is free to do a bit of digging on Accessify and adapt as necessary:

Try the form on this page out for an example of how it works (tabbing, not hovering, remember!)

The script is here, but is not loaded unless it needs to be (JavaScript calling another JS file).

Comment by porneL — Apr 14 2005 @ 10:05 am

Better browser gets better page. That’s simple.

Some effect add tiny bit of usability. If effort (or sacrifice of other things like clean code) needed to add them for IE is bigger than improvement it makes – don’t bother.

Comment by Jens Meiert — Apr 14 2005 @ 4:14 pm

The first thing which comes to my mind are user tests. Evaluate if all those SFX do help the user, and if so, make them available to IE users, too (in a reasonable fashion, of course, I’m no fan of hardcore JavaScript libs). And like Patrick already states, it generally depends.

Comment by Johan — Apr 23 2005 @ 10:46 am

Everybody uses IE so we have clients that use IE and developers that know there is more than IE

Comment by Adam Boddington — Apr 28 2005 @ 7:09 pm

I’m new to the whole web standards thing. I had no idea there were so many people out there that felt so strongly about the subject. And now I understand the popularity of Firefox — when it first came out, I didn’t bother downloading it because I already had a free browser, IE.

I’m a web developer, or rather, a programmer that does web work. I do internal applications, typically for large enterprises and typically as part of a large team. We’re all tech heads, we’re very specialised in what we do. The applications usually require a massive amount of work under the hood, some integration with several other systems, a very large database, and all kinds of real-time and batch processing. The UI is often an after thought and is no where near as inspired as the many websites I see folks linking to here.

We know basic HTML and rudimentary CSS. We get our pages and controls to dump out whatever is needed to make the application half-way usable in IE. That usually means a lot of tables and spacer gifs. None of us realise (that I know of) that we’re breaking web standards”, or even that there are web standards. And certainly none of us realise we could ditch most of that HTML if we just learnt a little more CSS and got ourselves a browser that can understand it.

I know there are a lot of developers like myself out there, and a lot of organisations that build internal applications this way. I know because I’ve been doing this for seven years. And in case you’re wondering, yes I’m a Microsoft programmer — ASP for the first four years, ASP.NET for the last three. Before that, windows programs.

Anyway, I wanted to point out that a lot of web applications out there aren’t public, whose audience is captive, and whose audience even has their browsing tool prescribed to them. It occurred to me that entire organisations would switch to Firefox if developers like myself learnt a little about web standards and started advocating them. Anything that saves us time saves the organisation money. If they can save money by installing a free browser to run their latest internal web application, I’m sure most would do it. Bam, another 3,000 Firefox users.

Just a thought.

Comment by Rahul Sinha — Apr 29 2005 @ 8:09 am

What do you all use to “correct” for broken browsers? Browser sniffing or object detection?

Is the latter effective? Practical?

Thanks
-RS

Comment by Brian Tapley — May 05 2005 @ 6:35 pm

Speaking personally–not for Macromedia,

Standards are being defined and re-defined all the time right? Not a huge fan of the MS Operating Sytem’s rendering (including MS IE), but as a company, MS has had a huge impact on our current set of W3C standards. The fact that MS has been more shy about adopting psuedo classes than other companies is probably directly related to it’s own HTC proposal, where interactions and views are still called from a CSS file (like psuedo classes) but the interaction is defined in a seperate file and can be far more flexible and robust.

In short, I like the quick and dirty psuedo class approach for some applications certainly, but I don’t necessaily believe MS has been negligent in adopting them for all elements.

Comment by Mike — May 19 2005 @ 10:57 pm

Until they fix that page-shifting problem in Firefox, its just gonna sit in my nice-to-have drawer. Just about every site I go to has this problem and its damn annoying.

Dont tell me that these web pages need to be changed because “Firefox renders it properly” — none the ‘other’ browsers have this problem. Firefox isnt THAT good.

Comment by Mike — May 19 2005 @ 11:01 pm

by the way… the use of “M$” is completely stupid and shows the huge amounts jealousy out there toward peole with ‘more’. instead, why not produce better and take the $ out of MS? dont think it can be done? ha. you’ll see.

Comment by Mike Cherim — Jul 14 2005 @ 6:53 pm

I’m all for leveling the playing field, even if it means adding a little JavaScript. If, however, JavaScript must be employed, I feel it needs to be for an add-on or extra feature and not one necessary to the usability of the site. Unless, of course, another more accessible means is provided to get the job done.

It’s funny, I recently wrote an article which touches on this a bit. It pertains to tables and some nice access features. Making it work for Firefox was easy, but making my Accessible Smart Tables work in IE was another matter altogether. I ended up using JavaScripting to make it happen.

Good article, Derek.

PS. I love the live preview on this blog. Nice feature.

Comment by Taniec — Aug 22 2005 @ 4:29 pm

Better browser gets better page. That’s simple.

Comment by Szefo — Dec 08 2005 @ 5:15 pm

“Better browser gets better page. That’s simple. ”

Yes, but important this is in order to to create page which it will act in all browser correctly

Comment by ChadL — Feb 24 2006 @ 8:55 pm

Be careful what you’re using pseudo classes for. Remember that CSS is for style and not behaviour. It’s a fuzzy line yes, but too many choose to use the CSS hammer on a behaviour nail where Javascript is much more correct.