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Websites 1st, Browsers 2nd or is that backwards?

7:19 pm on Oct 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I'm sure this question has been asked a hundred times over, and I've read some past articles here on what ppl think in regards to this topic... but I can't help to ask again.

Starting way back then, I used Netscape, and designed around netscape capabilities. Down the road.. I don't remember.. but I slowly converted to IE, and designed for IE and Netscape... and now I don't even want to install the second browser (Netscape). I found more pleasure designing for IE then I did Netscape.. for reasons I can't define.. but it seemed easier I guess, as each time my OS was updated the newer version of IE was installed. Whereas Netscape seemed to be getting bigger and clunkier (IMHO anyway).

My question.. how many of you even care if your website will work with another browser other than IE... which seems to dominate the browser usage? I understand that if your target audience.. according to your logs says 20-50% of ppl are using Netscape.. well then your design should be compliant for both... but in general have any of you just given up, fed up with spending the extra time figuring out why one code works with IE, and doesn't in another browser? or how simple things like your fonts and colours can be so different across the two.

I guess I'm just tired and don't want to deal with all this cross-browser compatablilty anymore, when all my sites, show Windows and IE as the majority of my target audience. So for every 10,000 visitors, possibly 10% are Netscape, 2% Opera and the rest for Lynx - Konqueror etc.. Do I just forget about these other clients, or should I really just go back to my habitual routine and install Netscape again? Argg?! LOL sorry but it was hard enough for me to drop building my site for ppl who use a screen reso of 640*480 and start thinking in 800*600 and now not to forget about those who use 1024*768+... oh and then the colours :) To top it off CSS is becoming so popular to use, and Javascript codes differ between the two on some level.. blah blah blah It literally drives me crazy as I'm sure it does others. I assume that I'll still design with some thought of what I've learned between the two.. but I would like to convert just to IE in design only.. am I kidding myself? This is quite a scary change for me. However I always leave a footnote at the bottom of my sites about which browser the site was optimized for and what resolution and colour depth was used.. does anyone ever read that stuff?

Thanks for any heads up or opinions, I hope I haven't drudged up a topic that noone wants to discuss anymore? I just wanted to see how many webmasters out there just design specifically for IE only, probably to make me feel better about my decision, or to get a definitive "you're crazy" from some actual experts out there :D

11:37 pm on Oct 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member g1smd is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

From a real site, the stats for October so far:

1. Internet Explorer 6.x 59.4 %
2. Internet Explorer 5.x 25.0 %
3. Netscape 4.x 6.2 %
4. Mozilla 1.x 3.1 %
5. Netscape 2.x 3.1 %
6. Mozilla 3.1 %

11:06 am on Oct 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Don't go by those stats. They're quite obviously based on a rather cr@ppy browser sniffer, as the stats for Netscape 2.0 are way too high.

Here are my more accurate stats (please note that Netscape 7 includes Mozilla etc. and that Opera is listed as Opera, even if it is identified as IE):

Internet Explorer 6: 60.88%
Internet Explorer 5 Win: 17.3%
Netscape 7: 8.35%
AOL Browser: 5.9%
Internet Explorer 5 Mac: 1.99%
Netscape 4: 0.8%
Internet Explorer 4 Win: 0.76%
Spider/Crawler: 0.62%
Opera 7: 0.58%
Safari: 0.51%
WebTV: 0.15%
Opera 6: 0.12%
Internet Explorer 4 Mac: 0.08%
Netscape 6: 0.07%
Konqueror 3: 0.05%
Netscape 3: 0.02%
Internet Explorer 3 Win: 0.02%
Netbox 3: 0.02%
Amaya 8: 0.02%

5:16 pm on Oct 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Thanks for posting the stats. Nice.. are they from your own site(s)?

hartlandcat: Thanks for the suggestion to take a look at Opera. What a really nice browser! Speedy as heck, even when changing skins or adding plugins etc... I only found a few faults so far and that's pretty good considering I spent a good time going over most of their options. Favicon support for bookmarks not supported, toolbar and bookmark separators are non existant but I fixed that (toolbar anyhow) :), and alot of the sites I went to visit rendered horribly. My sites on the other hand faired OK <whew>.. except for some CSS differences and table cell lines not showing up. Horizontal tags look great, my javascript worked, and even some dashed borders that I added for fun works well too. This browser gives the user quite the option to change almost anything they want when they surf; <sigh> can't beat that if trying to design for Opera, unless hoping the default appearance is maintained.

Overall some excellent features and I actually like it alot. However I did do some simple table tests, and purposely left out some tags, and Opera seemed as lenient as IE was in this particular test, where good 'ol Netscape of course denied reading it. Would you happen to have any feedback on that.. Is Opera just as lazy as IE?

9:27 pm on Oct 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

"Imagine I have three direct competitors -- we are neck-and-neck in sales, so for 1000 widgets sold, you'd expect us to sell 250 each.

But only one of us is in anyway NIET (non-IE tolerant) and (in our market) non-IE usage runs at about 4%. That competitor picks up all 4% (40) sales, leaving the rest divided equally among all four.

That's sales of 240 / 240 / 240 / 280. 16% more sales for the NIET site.

It seems a no-brainer to me to be that site, rather than one of the other three." [victor]

This logic is flawed.

1. First of all, since IE is superior to all browsers in POPULARITY (screw dealing with functionality right now), the potential to reach more customers is phenomenally greater by remaining with IE, and designing for IE in order to target more IE users.

2. Businesses don't operate by total number of widgets sold. They operate by capital gain and how much they are moving inventory out of stock. You can't compare your competitors by those numbers since those numbers are generally unavailable to access unless you are on "the inside". You learn to target your sales by offering the best deals, and other services that the users keep returning for. The way to compete is looking at how much your competitor is selling widgets for, and beat it.

3. That 16% gain for the NIET site would quickly (relatively) turn into 4% and even less gain, in contrast to the IE sites as they target more and more of the larger audience to sell more widgets.

4. I'm not about to waste precious time worrying about my design not being visible or visibly pleasing in other less-popular browsers, while there is an entire population waiting to be targeted.

5. I would venture to say that designers, who do not take the less-popular browsers into consideration, are NOT lazy, but rather diligent with what opportunity is before them (IF they take advantage of it!). I would say that something is wrong with their particular market demand or marketing strategies if they then cannot find ways to target the popular audience successfully. The greater offence to one's business is not achieving full potential, by falling behind in marketing strategy-- in that sense they would be lazy or inexperienced.

6. There is nothing wrong with the die-hard fans of the (near dead) small browsers, unless they are focused on ignoring the current popular browser (so highly esteemed by the masses) by a "my browser is better than your browser" attitude. No one should ever put browser before design. It should be design, then browser. Whatever browser will display my design best to the masses, I go with that. No one should have to sacrifice their creativity by working with any browsers that limit the possibilities! Period.


9:43 pm on Oct 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member g1smd is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

IE will render good code and it will render a "best-guess" using mangled code.

Browsers like Mozilla will only render "good" code. So, you write "good" code and your page should work in all browsers.

If you write "bad" code then you automatically cut off part of your market. No one "designs" for IE. How can you "design" for something that has so many bugs, and so many changes when the next 0.0001 version number change occurs?

10:08 pm on Oct 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

"So, you write 'good' code and your page should work in all browsers.

No one "designs" for IE. How can you "design" for something that has so many bugs, and so many changes when the next 0.0001 version number change occurs?" [g1smd]

I have no disagreement with you except for the quoted above, and misunderstanding.

1. "Good code" is a vague categorization. Good code that should work across all browser platforms is primarily very simple "document" style code. As mentioned by Purrl, static document styled sites are not too popular. Of course there are ways around that, to continuously worry about tweaks and hacks to be made so that the features are sometimes visible in other browsers.

It's my stance to rather focus time on marketing strategies, not worrying about pleasing people with less-popular browsers. There is an entire category of good coding that is very sophisticated and still looks and functions perfectly, but not wholly detected by other browsers.

2. I didn't mean to say people should be "designing for IE," directly for the browser. Notice I said "(screw dealing with functionality right now)," talking of browsers. I meant to imply people should be designing for the population of users that have the particular browser.

I'm not a fan of IE's bugs, don't get me wrong. I too would like to see Netscape equally competitive with Explorer, but it just isn't reality at this time.

In fact, I would like to see people stop trying to compete with different browsers, put their damn heads together and create a One World Browser Platform that has the capabilities to accept all good coding for all desired functions. But that won't happen for quite a while, if at all, because people are gung-ho about THEIR special browser being better than the next, or it's affect on market shares and IPO offerings.

The only solution to unified coding functionality across the board, is to have UNITY through ONE browser capable of handling everything. I know the technology is available. Not having it really pisses me off.

It's just like the oil industry stripping us of our hard-earned dollars, while hybrid technology HAS BEEN available and CHEAP for the past 10+ years, to where we shouldn't hardly have to use any gas.

There is no money in a quick fix. Capitalist bastards... have a heart.


10:16 pm on Oct 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I know this is kind of off topic, but it is related to a very important issue: functionality through unity.

Additionally, such a One WWW Browser Platform must be ruled over by a non-profit organization, so as not to start another Microsoft-style monopoly.

There should also be "ONE World OS" so people shouldn't strive to design things to be compatible with other OS. The technology is available to blend the best features of all Operating Systems, into one. But that won't happen because there are patents up the ass with all of them; unless a law was passed for the sake of unifying the industry in a similar non-profit organization.

Linux should be a foundational inspiration for such a movement, since it was initially and is remaining to be free.

Ahh, to imagine a world where no one worries about compatibility, but instead expands on INCREASING technology and building better programs with more capabilities... what a dream.

If you think about it, greed is a huge factor, but compatibility is the ONE factor that is holding technology back.


4:38 pm on Oct 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

... greed is a huge factor, but compatibility is the ONE factor that is holding technology back

True, up to a point. However...

One WWW Browser Platform must be ruled over by a non-profit organization, so as not to start another Microsoft-style monopoly

1. There would be no incentive for new design.
2. We would get the usual "not invented here" and "head in the clouds" attitudes that can be sometimes detected in W3C.
3. This non-profit organisation would be a monopoly, whereas Microsoft is not a monopoly. It has a lot of clout but nobody is forced to use their technology.
4. The example given of Linux is a poor one. Linux is only making headway because of commercial competing companies such as RedHat and SuSe.

I wish it wasn't so, but it is.


4:41 pm on Oct 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

760 width is what i am working with at the mo, scalable upwards to 1600.

complete compatibility with most browsers, except lynx, though will work with a PDA no probs.

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