Cross Browser Compatibility & Why it will Ruin your Life
Making your website cross browser compatible (that is, so it looks the same on all web browsers) is kind of like cooking a soufflé – the recipe looks simple enough until it comes out of the oven all flat and gross, and you end up hurling it into the wall at 150mph. Building your website to be cross browser compatible is a lot harder than it looks.
There’s a lot to be said for a standardized web browser. If only Microsoft and Apple could sit down at a table, and agree to only support Mozilla Firefox, the world of website creation would be a helluva lot simpler. Of course that’s not going to happen anytime soon, and while Firefox (the world’s best browser, obviously) currently occupies just under 25% of global browser use, Internet Explorer still commands over 60% of browser use worldwide – and as we all know, Internet Explorer sucks.
Over the last decade Internet Explorer, in it’s various incarnations, has gone from Prince Charming of the browser world to that distant intellectually-backward cousin with the monobrow. IE’s rapid demise is through no fault of it’s own, of course, but compared to the alternative browsers (Firefox, Safari and Chrome), it really can’t compare both in speed and usability. You and me know Internet Explorer is crap. 60% of internet users, however, don’t. Mmmm….
So what’s the problem with IE? Microsoft’s browser will display most webpages, and people will be able to read what you write. The problem lies in the little details, where IE will usually always generate something wrong, and let down your entire web design. Granted, most users won’t really notice, but that’s hardly the point, is it? You go to so much effort to create a visually impressive website which is let down by a dated but very dominant web browser.
The solution? Don’t even bother supporting crap browsers. A few of the larger websites have already taken this initiative which is encouraging to small scale websites. The only way to phase out the ancient browsers is to stop supporting them, it’s that simple. Of course until that happens, the only solution is to painstakingly modify and re-modify your website graphics and css code until your website displays roughly as intended across all browsers. And when for the eighteenth time your website search box looks crap in Internet Explorer, we don’t advise hurling your computer at the wall – as we discovered, it doesn’t actually help…