<edited: misread original intent of post>
[edited by: kevinpate at 10:31 pm (utc) on Nov. 5, 2003]
kevinpate, the point DrDoc made was that if you design for non IE first IE will get it right too, lettign your site cover near 100% at no extra work. do you want to make 6% more sales and more money without work? I know I do, and I think that is what DrDoc is wonderign about. Why do some many silly web designers throw away 6% of their potential sales for no good reason.
Not sure, maybe because it's an easy way out with IE the top browser. I know that I was uneducated in the ways of browsers when I first started in web design and because I used IE and majority of my viewers used IE by a long way I designed for that base. Now I understand the compatibilty game better I use N7 and Opera7 to check my sites. I don't know if this is the best way but I am learning and take into consideration the experiece and advice from others.
Because up until very recently, with NN7 and O7, the fringe browsers didn't interpret active scripting in the same manner as IE. One used div, the other span, one bubbled up the other was top down.
To make any type of active pages meant having to code twice the script, and for the extra 2% (I don't where you get 6%) it just wasn't worth the hassle.
It went beyond scripting too. Page sizes were different, size renderings were different. NN was full of bugs different from IE, but at least IE worked. And 98% of the world was using it.
So, rather than take the time and make sure it worked across the fringe, it was much easier to recommend to the user to download IE and be done with it. Or, in most cases, it was already on their machine.
Today it's different, NN7 treats scripting like IE. Mozilla is a better NN. I'm with the school that designs and tests to standards, but if it validates and doesn't work with the fringe browsers, I don't worry anymore.
Part of it is because in the past it was usually NN4 that would give people headaches, so out of habit when something looks good in IE but not so good in something else they blame the something else.
The other part of it is IE has such a dominant market share that people obvsiously want their pages to look good in IE so they design for that first and blame the other browser when it doesnt look right. For some reason a lot of people dont realize that if you develop for a standards compliant browser first its much easier to make a few minor changes to make it look right in IE than it is to work the other way around.
Unfortunately the argument of which browser is best always gets thrown in, along with copius amounts of stubborness, when that isnt really relevant. Bottom line you will save time and reach the widest possible audience by developing in a standards compliant browser first. What browser you like best doesnt matter, we all want to save time and reach the widest possible audience, dont we?
We're also talking about what marketing folks call "mindshare". MS has a huge mindshare, the result of some very crafty business planning over many years. "Browser=IE" is almost an invisible assumption in today's world...even in this very forum at times.
We're at the point where many end users don't even know what a browser is. Web designers often don't know about standards, and they just assume that Explorer is doing things the "right way". And it's only Explorer for PC at that.
More than any one bit of software, even a huge collection like Office, more than their widespread OS, Microsoft has built and will defend that mindshare. It will not be easy to change the browser awareness situation, especially because you need to introduce complication to the general mindset, rather than offer a simplification.
On some sites I see more than that (especially because I can't afford to consider IE for mac in the same category as IE for pc. When I first began creating websites, no professional dreamed of not checking for cross-browser compatibility. The fact that today is different is a Microsoft accomplishment. I don't like it, but I do admit they did one heck of a job.
There are many causes. I develop "for" IE because it is the default browser for HomeSite. It is just a matter of convenience. But then again, I check my work on other browsers and os'es.
I think there is also the problem that those going to school for comp sci don't necessarily get told to check their pages in other browsers and platforms. I had two web courses and neither one suggested that I should check my pages for compatibility. How sad.
Finally, I think there is laziness in/ignorance of how to get multiple browsers on one computer. I have NN versions 4.79 through the latest on my machine and I have multiple machines on which to test in a lab. I don't think every web person necessarily knows how to or cares to make sure they have access to all browsers.
maybe that's because most of the webdesigners are windows users using dreamweaver (guess the default preview browser) and photoshop (guess again, this time for 'safe for web') etc. pp. ... . [wildmann just said something like this, too]
i know from a lot of so called design bueros that they are designing for ie because 'everybody in the world' uses it. but in truth they just tell that way, because they don't wont to spend time on any cross-browser test at all. and they can't believe (know) that a site designed for another browser (for example lynx) will work with any other browser, too. ;)
for the statistics about how many percent are using ie or another browser i'll give a strong advice: do you know how many of the ie users will have activex and scripting enabled for your site? checkout the security holes ie had and has and what the fix for these is - to disable both.
whatever. i think drdoc is quite right here. i don't get the point even i'm using windows a lot and started webdesigning on that os. but maybe it's becaus of my oldschool behaviour that i started to learn html by typing it or it's because of seeing the changes webbrowsers made the last years and to know that if i want to reach the net, i have to match many useragents, not only nn4.x or later, not only ie5.5 or later. thanks to xhtml and css it is possible that the same page can range lynx to ie6sp1XP.
anything we can do about this?
simply tell these webdesigners the page is not working in internet explorer. tell them you just installed the latest hotfixes and service pack for ie and html-help via windowsupdate (like most of all windows users these days). if they ask for your version number in panic while trieing to get 'these latest updates they need to have' tell them it's to long to be displayed completely in the about-dialog.
remember: mosaic can't handle virtual hosts.
What do people actually mean when they say that they "design for IE"?
What is it that they do (or do not do) that makes them say that they designed especially for IE.
I'll post what I think they mean, after a few people have clarified what they think they mean by it.
Personally, if I designed for IE, it would mean that I use IE as my primary (if not only) resource for testing. If it doesn't render well in another browser, it wouldn't matter, since my page wasn't designed to work with that browser anyway.
If I designed especially for IE, to me that would imply a)that I only checked my site in IE while building it and b) probably only checked it on the os with which I generally work. I wouldn't necessarily assume that the person doing so hadn't checked it in any other browser or another os, but may or may not have tried to fix any compatibility issues.
One of the big problems is that people don't know about other browsers. I used to be an IE/Netscape user and then one of my friends told me I should download Opera... "whoa, there are other browsers?" Naivety at its fineset.
Ah, that is exactly the responses I expected;
I made a web page and displayed it using IE. As it looked OK, that was it. I uploaded it. Job done.
So I will contend that it wasn't actually designed for IE at all. It just happens to work in that browser, one that will display mangled HTML without complaint. There was no piece of code, no special methodology that was applied, working to some known specification to get the web page done. Sadly, viewing a web page in one version of IE, on one computer, using one particular OS, makes no guarantee that there is any other computer on the entire planet that is capable of viewing it the same way, or even of viewing it all.
I think that designing involves a few more steps, certainly involving using a validator to get rid of all the errors in the code, and testing on a variety of browsers (and tweaking the code) to make sure they all do a good job of rendering the code in an acceptable manner.
I see those "designed for IE at 800x600" logos on web sites as really saying "I couldn't be bothered to do the job properly".
Hmm, worms, can of, now opened.
I've been a Web developer since 1996. Cross compatibility is expensive, and one of the major headaches in every studio.
We all hate Microsoft, but when they took the browser market, for a year or so we could explain to clients, MS has a 94-96% share, do you want to bear the cost of designing workarounds for NS4 etc?
When Netscape had 13% of the market, clients would say, accommodate it. Now, they say forget it.
Time is money - the dedicated webmaster working for his and her own website can squeeze every drop of optimization, performance, and advantage out of the site.
I design for Lynx and robots, and gingerly employ design techniques where I can, cautiously testing them out here and there - my designers hate my conservatism.
But designing for standards compliance is not an answer (wish it were), and designing for default-IE is no longer a good guess with the security advisories as mentioned (activeX etc).
What's happening is the styling is becoming more and more minimal with commerce sites, and more chauvinistic with rich-media sites.
But it really hasn't been the designers who've brought all this about.
And it's going to get even worse as MS abandons all pretense at compliance, now that it has the market.
Welcome to Web design.
I'd have to agree with g1smd. A professional web designer should be able to efficiently write a page which renders nicely in any web page viewing tool. Otherwise, we're a bunch of hacks.
Ditto to all you said, g1smd ;)
As for the 95%+ marketshare for IE. I still maintain that the numbers are slightly skewed in IE's favor. I suspect the real number lies somewhere around 85-90%, not more.
>>somewhere around 85-90%, not more.
Okay. I can forget about Opera users, Mac users, Firebird users and STILL OWN THE MARKET.
What I can't understand are the folks that think about IE last...
This is business folks. Plain and simple. No one gives a rats arse about your specialty browser. If I lose a sale because your weird Firebird browser can't find my buy button I don't care a bit. If the IE users can't find my buy button I care. How much simpler does it need to be?
|Okay. I can forget about Opera users, Mac users, Firebird users and STILL OWN THE MARKET. |
You can if you are the only site for that market. But can you if there is competition.
Let's take a simple scenario where you and two main competitors are duking it out for 100% of the market, but only one of you usuably supports those non-IE users.
In that "worst-case" scenario, with 15% of the market being non-IE, you have given that one competitor 15% upfront.
That one lucky competitor can expect 15 + 85/3 = 43% of the sales. The rest of you get 85/3 = 28% each.
Who owns that market!?
|Okay. I can forget about Opera users, Mac users, Firebird users and STILL OWN THE MARKET. |
So you will build a parking garage for the Toyoda Camay but if someone comes by driving a BMW, Ford Escort or Chevy, then they are SOL? That is essentially what you are saying, and it is just as ridicules.
|If I lose a sale because your weird Firebird browser can't find my buy button I don't care a bit. If the IE users can't find my buy button I care. How much simpler does it need to be? |
I think what digitalghost is saying, and certainly what I'm trying to say is, in business sometimes you have to allocate limited resources towards the optimal ends, relatively.
I can be 90% market effective for this expenditure of money, time, resources - what does it cost for me to get the last 10%, and what will that last 10% bring me or my client in tangible returns?
But getting that 10% is not much harder or cost any substantial amount. Basically you just have to adhere to the standards set out by the W3C more closely at the beginning of the project. Most of the cases where you have to spend extra time and costs getting that extra 10% is usually because of sloppy code that no one cared to check or validate during development.
|Okay. I can forget about Opera users, Mac users, Firebird users and STILL OWN THE MARKET. |
This line of thinking was one of the contributing factors to most of the failing 'Dotcoms' over the last few years.
|What I can't understand are the folks that think about IE last... |
As a web designer, I always think of IE last. M$ is always trying to change a standard, hoping to hook people on their dependancy driven marketing techniques. The introduction of Active-X was a nightmare. Parsing and rendering garbage code created a slew of people, armed with a book on HTML and access to a computer, who started to market themselves as 'Professional Web Designers.'
|This is business folks. Plain and simple. No one gives a rats arse about your specialty browser. If I lose a sale because your weird Firebird browser can't find my buy button I don't care a bit. If the IE users can't find my buy button I care. How much simpler does it need to be? |
An attitude like that will never generate a succesfull business. Nobody in business ever became a success by taking Half Measures.
Hello DaScribbler and Welcome to the Webmaster World Forums. You jumped into a juicy one!
|This line of thinking was one of the contributing factors to most of the failing 'Dotcoms' over the last few years. |
That line of thinking really had nothing to do with the dotcom crash. Most of their business plans were doomed from the start, regardless of which browser people used.
I never was able to answer the fundamental question behind most of the failed enterprises. Would I use it? For pet supplies - would I wait 3 - 4 days for a bag of kibble when I could pick one up on the ride home? For groceries - why should I pay a premium for shopping on line and delivery - when I have to run out to the store for the stuff I forgot, etc?
The browser question really has nothing to do with the dot com debacle.
|Most of their business plans were doomed from the start, regardless of which browser people used. |
While this is true, note I said it was One of the reasons. There were several, but I still maintain that it was a significant factor.
There were several websites all around the world offering similar products or services. The competition was fierce, and the companies who produced a quality service to All markets would win out over those who didn't.
|I can be 90% market effective for this expenditure of money, time, resources - what does it cost for me to get the last 10%, and what will that last 10% bring me or my client in tangible returns? |
Rusty, is that you? Wondered what happened to you when they let go. We all miss you. You marketing guys never change. The expenditure for that last 10% is very small compared to the increase in return from the excluded 10%.
What if... what if Microsoft one of these days will lose a huge court case, forcing them to stop developing buggy software? Or, if they get their act together and release a standards compliant browser.
All those that are making standards compliant pages (and yes, those still work in IE just as well as, if not better than, sloppy IE-only pages) won't have to do a thing. But those with sloppy, amateurish, IE poisoned code will all of a sudden have to upgrade all their millions of pages.
Now, how smart is that from a business perspective?
What you're saying, digitalghost, is that you don't want IE to become standards compliant. To me, that's just plain wrong :)
|We're at the point where many end users don't even know what a browser is. |
"Open your browser."
"You mean get on the internet?"
|maybe that's because most of the webdesigners are windows users using dreamweaver (guess the default preview browser) |
That shouldn't affect IE-only designing, because (correct me if I'm wrong) I believe that the most recent versions of Dreamweaver use the same rendering engine as Opera 7. I don't know what GoLive uses, but I don't believe it to be IE, as someone I know that used it said that her site actually initially looked better in Netscape (so she thus had to change parts of it so it looked as good in [Mac] IE).
I always test my site in Netscape 7.1 first. I will then test in Opera 7.2, because Netscape does allow some sloppy code (but nowhere near as much as IE does). Then I test in IE 6.0, followed by Netscape 4.6, Netscape 6.0, Opera 6.0, Opera 7.0 and Opera 4.0. I then test in IE 4.0, IE 5.0, Netscape 6.2 and Netscape 4.0. I will then test in Konqueror 3.1, IE 3.0, Netscape 3.0 and the ICEBrowser. I'm anticipating that my new Mac (with OS 9.2) will arrive tomorrow, so I will also test in MacIE 5 and iCab. When I upgrade to OS X, I'll test in Safari also.
I go out of my way to make sure that my site displays and works as I intended in Netscape 7.1, Netscape 6.2, Opera 7.2, Opera 7.0, IE 5.0 and IE 6.0. I will also try to make sure that it also displays and works correctly in Konqueror 3.1, but I won't lose sleep over a slight presentational glitch thar occurs within Konqueror. I make sure that my site looks "respectable" in Opera 6.0 and Netscape 6.0. I also make sure that it degrades "gracefully" in Netscape 4.6, Netscape 4.0, Netscape 3.0, IE 4.0, IE 3.0, Opera 4.0 and the ICEBrowser.
|I always test my site in Netscape 7.1 first. I will then test in Opera 7.2, because Netscape does allow some sloppy code (but nowhere near as much as IE does). Then I test in IE 6.0, followed by Netscape 4.6, Netscape 6.0, Opera 6.0, Opera 7.0 and Opera 4.0. I then test in IE 4.0, IE 5.0, Netscape 6.2 and Netscape 4.0. I will then test in Konqueror 3.1, IE 3.0, Netscape 3.0 and the ICEBrowser. I'm anticipating that my new Mac (with OS 9.2) will arrive tomorrow, so I will also test in MacIE 5 and iCab. When I upgrade to OS X, I'll test in Safari also. |
There's such a thing as going overboard with testing. I noticed that Netscape 2 wasn't on your list. What about the person that uses that? Or Lynx?
This argument is getting ridiculous.
A person who takes the time to test this much obviously doesn't have to worry about billing clients or running a business.
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