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Designing for Firefox vs. IE?

 7:24 pm on Oct 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

I work at a small web design firm and I really enjoy using CSS to design layout (even if I am having a little trouble). But my boss (who uses IE almost exclusively) today said that because the majority of browsers used today are IE, that I should be designing for IE, then Firefox secondary. I personally disagree with him because I don't want to get in the habit of designing in a browser that doesnt follow web standards. Am I wrong to assume this? What do I say in response to my boss' request?



 7:56 pm on Oct 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

Am I wrong to assume this? What do I say in response to my boss' request?

No you're not wrong, but perhaps if you put it a little differently to your boss, he might appreciate that you could be saving him money in the future ;)

Standards for example is a very confusing word, and I can imagine that a lot of bosses don't care if the sites validate just that they work.

IE's own standards are very different from all other browsers and if you code for IE exclusively it's possible to get off with a lot more mistakes as well as get desired effects by doing the wrong thing. (which you probably know already)

However when the day comes that a client wants the design to look the same in FF and IE it is actually plausible that it won't be possible if you designed for IE exclusively, best case scenario might be a lot of recoding. = cost to your Boss, in wages and man hours?

However done the other way around using correct behaviour of CSS, it usually just takes a quick surf around this forum, here for example [webmasterworld.com] or a quick post and most if not all IE quirks can be managed easily with minor CSS tweaks. = Cheaper for the Boss!

let us know if he changes his mind ;)



 7:58 pm on Oct 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

I would say that designing for any browser at all is not the right approach. First design for standards, and in standards mode -- so the future requires less updating (IE7 is coming and will be more standards compliant). Then check the pages in key browsers.

The common report from developers who use this approach is that development time is cut way down -- in my own case, I would say by 50%.

By designing for standards instead of any specific browser, you avoid accidentally depending on some odd browser error recovery routine or old-style "quirks mode" rendering. If you embed that kind of dependency into your initial template mark-up, fixing it can be a nightmare.

You might also point out that recently IE has lost significant market share, and the future is not locked in. For example, with Opera now being a free browser, there's another player in the game. If IE falls to, say, a 70% market share, would your boss be willing to sacrifice 3 out of 10 visitors?

If you can get your work done faster with a standards-based approach, and still be supporting IE - how can the boss argue with that?


 8:51 pm on Oct 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

Short of calling your boss a moron who is trying to micromanage your work habits? ;)

I would simply tell him that his logic doesn't make any sense, then explain to him the reasons you are using Firefox as the primary testing browser instead of IE. (You do know the reason after all?) Then finish off with the fact that as long as the pages you build end up creating webpages that work in both browsers with little to no additional time wasted dealing with cross browser compatibility issues, then it shouldn't matter to him if you use Firefox as the primary testing browser.


 9:24 pm on Oct 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

I'll also like to add that you should tell your boss that because the majority of visitors uses IE isn't a good bases to suggest an internal change on development platform, especially when the end goal is to make the webpages work on as many browsers as feasible with the minimum of fuss.

[edited by: tedster at 2:39 am (utc) on Oct. 14, 2005]


 9:29 pm on Oct 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

I think you need to use boss-language. Try dropping 'best practise' into the conversation - that always gets them for me.


 11:17 pm on Oct 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

Thanks, all of your suggestions really help.


 11:18 pm on Oct 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

Hello to everyone,

This is a great topic, iīve just been back to England and was spoke to about this topic.

I have now been able to convince 2 seperate firms, both not small, to change their point of view to Browsers and compatability.

I spoke to them discussing the proīs and conīs of what they are doing at the moment.

One firm has completely changed over to Firefox and develop now using it and then only checking what needs to be fixed for IE.

I have personally found using the method of developing first off for compatible browsers and then for IE is the best way to go. Saves time and lots of money.

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