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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.
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
I works for me, as has js navigation for the last several years, but it's all about how much loss you can stand. Some here stop to pick up every stray kitten, others just ride hell-bent-for-leather.
> 640*480 and start thinking in 800*600 and now not to forget about those who use 1024*768
To me, resolution creep is by far the larger threat to site layout & design.
I work around IE, then make some minor adjustments for the other browsers. As lorax said, if it validates and works in those 3 browsers your fine.
Browser Statistics (from Google's visitors):
Browser And Display Statistics:
As rcjordan mentioned, resolution plays a significant role here as well. I think liquid is best if the design allows it, and use a default width of 740px for fixed designs.
Optimum Canvas Sizes:
An analyst at IDC on the future of Netscape and Mozilla browser technology:
"I would not say the patient is dead, but certainly it is more zombielike."
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?
One browser I would certainly never design for is Internet Explorer. It is used by the majority so why not design for them? Because it is too forgiving and contains too many bugs. Design for Netscape/Mozilla, which is harder work, but almost anything that works on there usually works on IE and will often work in other browsers (sometimes even internet phones etc...)
Note: You can be sued (and it has happened) if your site does not work in browsers that disabled people use.
P.S. Note that your work is described as 'webmaster', not 'InternetExplorerMaster', which always confuses me why people design only for IE.
netguy: Your links were really interesting to read. Thanks for taking the time to post those. Funny; in the clip for the news article in computerworld.. it said most users never upgraded past Netscape 4.7. This is true for me also. I tried the newer versions and didn't like them at all. Guess I'm very suprised I wasn't the only one.
"Optimised for Internet Explorer 6, 1024x768, 256 million colours"
But I read it as:
"Whoever wrote this is completely lazy"
I don't agree with that, because in my case it reads optimized for IE and Netscape ... and sometimes when I run across a website that was unreadable in Netscape.. those little footnotes were a nice quick explanation/reminder as to why I couldn't see their pages, laziness on the webmaster's part was far from my mind, perhaps thoughtfulness was more what I was thinking? I think in my case I've worked extremely hard to be Netscape compliant as this was the first browser I began creating with. I started with their WYSIWYG editor, and from there, I learned to write plain vanilla html with a text editor. I think although there are differences with the two browsers, alot of the mistakes (some) was the leniency of IE. Such as table structures. I found most of the time surfing with Netscape.. pages were not readable because some webmasters forgot to close a table tag etc.. However, even though Netscape's demand on the correct code is desirable to a point... on the other hand IE renders things such as tables; I think with much more grace when design was in mind.
I think perhaps I've pretty much programmed myself to write in a way that Netscape will not frown.. however I think yes I maybe a bit lazy not wanting to check my code in Netscape anymore since IE seems so dominating now. My biggest reason for switching to IE was the ever demanding reason of over half the websites I was visiting, Netscape couldn't see it... therefore driving me to switch to IE permanantely as my default browser... and I really mean driving haha .. for some reason I hated IE back then :)
I suppose I'm whinning, but really this is a big step for me and I'm actually scared, weird as that sounds. I just wanted to see if others felt the same way, or if IE really was dominating the market not just with surfers but with us webmasters as well. I guess I'll have to think about staying in the slow lane and taking my time conservatively or taking that jump to follow the traffic in the fast lane :)
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 care because:
Given that it is easier to write fully validated, standards complaint code (we have the tools) than to document exactly the expected results of every deliberately inserted bug, why would anyone not do that?
in the clip for the news article in computerworld.. it said most users never upgraded past Netscape 4.7.
Netscape 6.0 and higher uses a COMPLETELY different rendering engine from Netscape 4.8 and below. You say you never upgraded from Netscape 4.7... supporting Netscape 4 is difficult -- supporting Netscape 7 is not. And also, just because your site works in Netscape 4, it doesn't mean it'll work in Netscape 7 and vice versa. It's very unfashionable to design for IE-only at the moment. I've never really understood people that say that they don't want to download a certain browser, unless they have very limited space on their hard drive (which you may have, I don't know). I always download every version of Netscape, Mozilla, Firebird, Opera (and even IE) just about as soon as they're released. I believe I have about 30 browsers in total.
IE is very forgiving of mistakes in people's code, Netscape is not. Most of the time, if your site doesn't work in Netscape, it's because you've made some sort of mistake somewhere. Although many people will disagree, I always stand by this one statement:
Every site in the world displays correctly in Netscape 7.
Some people will fully understand what I mean by that, wheras others will not.
This post is getting long now, but another thing you have to remember is that most Netscape users have a completely different attitude to browsers from most IE users. Most Netscape users (myself included) are extremely advocative and protective of their browsers. Some people even call us obnoxious. The thing is, if your site doesn't work in Netscape, you can expect a large number of angry messages in your inbox. Don't take offense anyone, this is comming from a Netscape user! ^_^
[edited by: hartlandcat at 10:16 am (utc) on Oct. 25, 2003]
Every site in the world displays correctly in Netscape 7.
Good quote. I design my site in NS7 and do a quick check in IE and Opera. So far, I have had one problem: Netscape supports the CSS for min-width on a div, but IE seemed to ignore it.
About 18 months ago, my site only worked on IE (because I bought some software to create shops). I thought this was bad, so got a bit of experience and wrote my own shopping cart and pages (a lot of work). An amazing thing happened: Orders rose by over 15%. Was this because Netscape users and Opera users could view the site? I think so, because this was the only main change that the user saw. So why such a jump. This puzzled me for a long time and eventually I thought that the answer may be that NS users are abandoning other peoples shopping carts and trying other companies until the find one that works (mine). I believe that if your site does not function in the customers browser, the majority think it is your site to blame, so instead of changing browser (which always annoys me) they find it easier to go to a competitor.
It's up to you, but putting 'Optimised for...' was number 8 in the top ten worst website items. Anything in the top ten worst should always be removed. If Mr Average sees this and he knows he does not have that spec, he may click the back button (the same way you look at a computer game in the shop and it needs 512Mb RAM, so you put it back - ever tried one of those? They often work, but I never buy one in case it is a waste of my time and money). People are usually on the internet to get from A to B and if they think that they may have to fight with your site, they'll simply choose a diversion.
Now, IE is the most popular browser, but I would never desing for it. Take the harder route and design for other browsers - then if it doesn't look perfect in IE, tweak it until it does, even if it visually breaks slightly in other browsers - as long as they can use it.
I believe that if your site does not function in the customers browser, the majority think it is your site to blame, so instead of changing browser (which always annoys me) they find it easier to go to a competitor.
I'm a Netscape zealot. I am blind to the benefits of using IE and drawbacks of using Netscape, and I see only the drawbacks to IE and benefits of Netscape. Aside from that, I never switch browsers just to access a certain site. And so it seems, neither do most people. It was mentioned in another thread that it's only generally Mac users that do.
I'm actually quite suprised that there are so many Netscape Lovers persay out there. I remember getting shot down everytime I mentioned how much I loved the browser myself. It seemed everywhere I went IE was the focus of most webmasters out there.
PCInk: It's up to you, but putting 'Optimised for...' was number 8 in the top ten worst website items. Anything in the top ten worst should always be removed. If Mr Average sees this and he knows he does not have that spec, he may click the back button (the same way you look at a computer game in the shop and it needs 512Mb RAM, so you put it back - ever tried one of those? They often work, but I never buy one in case it is a waste of my time and money). People are usually on the internet to get from A to B and if they think that they may have to fight with your site, they'll simply choose a diversion.
Anyhow... I'm really pleased to see so many of you still love Netscape, and I'm very grateful to hear your opinions. Thanks so much for keeping me on the right path! I've also decided to give Netscape 7.0 another go. I must say after 4.7 I was quite disappointed with their newer versions and probably did not spend enough time to enjoy it.. this time I'll make myself spend at least a good week in review with version 7.0, and see where it goes from there.. or else 4.7 will be back on my machine :D
Maybe it didn't work in NS because the code was full of typos that IE chose to ignore, and took a guess as to what was meant. NS is less forgiving. Feed the page to [validator.w3.org...] and you'll soon see if the page was "designed" or if it is just a load of HTML tags thrown together in a heap, and somehow expected to work.
>> I think I'll stick with checking my pages on Netscape as well as IE. <<
First step, is to run them through the validator, before you even take a look on any web browser.
>> I've also decided to give Netscape 7.0 another go. <<
Try Mozilla with tabbed browsing, Cookie manager, Image manager, Download, Forms, and Password managers, and just a whole lot nicer to use. Mozilla is like NS 7 but without the AOL IM cr*p inside.
In a fairly recent thread, it was discovered that around 80% of people on here use Netscape (or a browser with the same rendering engine as Netscape, like Mozilla), rather than IE. Generally speaking, most people on here know what they're talking about with browsers, so (no offence intended) they know better than to use IE. Netscape's support for CSS is 2 years ahead of IE's anyway.
And I know what you mean on other forums, I constantly get bashed about in other places (often forums that are dominated by amature web designers -- which includes me as I'm an amature as well) for "preaching about Netscape". It's also really obvious that most of the IE fans on forums like that don't have a clue what they're talking about. The most stupid comment I got the other day on a forum was that "IE came out first, therefore all the others stole the idea." I don't know where that person heard that from, but it's totally not true, as we all know. NCSA Mosaic was the first graphical browser, and IE only came out when Microsoft saw that Netscape was a threat.
The reason why "less informed" people tend to bash Netscape about is because they haven't used it since 1999. As much as I hate to admit it, 1999 was really the only time when IE was clearly superior to Netscape, because Netscape were working on version 6.0 (which included a whole new rendering engine), so they were slow with updating. People assume that there have been no more Netscape releases since version 4, because that was really the last version to have a reasonably sized market share. It's very common for people to compare IE 6.0 to Netscape 4.7, which is obviously not a fair comparison. Most people now use IE, so they're not too interested in what Netscape are doing. It's like, most people now use Microsoft Word. How many people know the number of the most recent version of WordPerfect? I can tell you that it's version 11, but I haven't used WordPerfect since I used OS/2 Warp 3.0.
Browser And Display Statistics:
But just how old are these "global" statistics, July? Most I seen are several months old, even "the Counter" stopped posting their "global" statistics at the end of May. So anyone using these statistics to prove anything is almost always using very outdated information, and thus dubious at best.
Now last month, I saw a 100% increase in Mozilla/Netscape 7.x users. I like to claim the increase on a discussion thread on one of our boards were I heavily promoted Mozilla and Netscape 7.1. Though I must admit that I don't know how much of that increase was a result of that thread and how much was just random fluctuations.
Now when it comes to browser to test for, I normally focused on Mozilla and IE6 at a minimum. But then, I run a fan site and can get away with it. For a more "comercial" site, I would say the latest versions of Mozilla (the developer friendly version of Netscape 7), Netscape 4.x, either IE 5.5 or 6, and Opera. That will cover most of your bases. And as other have already stated, design for Mozilla first as the rest will just need minor tweaks to get things working properly.
I must admit however that all is not lost.. I like the tab browsing, I just love the way they show my favicons :) immediately, obviously there are way more options I would like to explore, the overall look and design is quite nice (modern), I like the way when you "view source" they've colour coded it almost like an editor, the page info is just nifty, the zooming tool is great, and the search tool and pop-up blocker is nice as well (although the google toolbar is good enough 4me). I'm sure there is more pros and cons, but I will really have to look further to find them.
I have not given the mail interface a try as I really like the Bat! Do you have some opinons on their mail client.. because I really did love the one in 4.7 but changed because I needed multiple account support. I custom installed the browser only.. and although I didn't ask for anything from AOL to be added it still showed up *yuck* I think I am going to install Mozilla instead as g1smd suggested.
In a fairly recent thread, it was discovered that around 80% of people on here use Netscape (or a browser with the same rendering engine as Netscape, like Mozilla), rather than IE...
But just how old are these "global" statistics, July?
Global statistics are not very interesting as they may not apply to the market niches I am working in.
Personal statistics (eg how may NN hits I get) are almost as uninteresting as they are self-determined: if my site is non-IE friendly, I'll see a self-fulfilling prophecy of few non-IE visitors.
The first interesting question (there are two in my mind) is:
Consider a thought experiment and adjust the figures for your own circumstances.
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.
Curiously however was there a particular version that stood out amongst the crowd (Netscape Speaking), or did you discover if most downloaded the newer version when they were made available?
I downloaded Netscape 7.1. Seems like a nice browser. Although I think I will stick mostly with 4.7 for now when designing until I get more used to the new browser.
My advice is to drop 4.7 as a design tool. It is based on very different technology from all later browsers, and is frankly obsolete. It's also my belief that NS4 users must have become accustomed to getting lousy displays by now, so they are probably going to be fairly forgiving. (I hope :) )
Personally I use IE6 for designing, mainly because I'm comfortable with it, but I never use IE-specific code. Yes, I know that IE is glossing over faults (which of course it does superbly!), but then I validate the code and check it out with the latest Netscape, Opera, and Mozilla.
If there is really new design involved then I check it out in a variety of browsers including various versions of Mozilla, IE, NS, Opera, Galeon and Konquerer.
To cater for NS4 users I have 2 stylesheets. All browsers get the first which includes fonts, anchors, img's, and all non-layout stuff. And every browser except NS4 gets the second which handles layout (divs, spans, etc.), so NS users get a text only display.
How is Mozilla 1.4 capable of cycling at a different speed to Netscape 7.1? It's the same browser.
I haven't checked Mozilla 1.4 specifically, but am sure it would not be slower than Mozilla 1.2.1 which I have checked.
Every OS has to have a pre-determined cycle time or else it would slow down or speed up depending on the workload. It has to be independent of the CPU speed - if not software (games for instance) would run at different speeds on different PCs. It is also independant of the browser refresh rate. The Windows pre-NT OS cycle time is 50 ms (i.e. a 50ms granularity), but Windows NT cycles at 10ms. Most modern browsers run at the speed of the OS.
I uninstalled NS7.1 and installed the latest Mozilla FireBird browser 0.7. I didn't actually choose the Mozilla suite because I don't think I need the extra applications.
Once again.. nice browser however I find it a little sluggish. Especially when hitting the back or forward buttons. I was really happy to see when a simple thing like the <HR> tags I mentioned before are shown in Firebird the way I've always seen them :) Toolbar customization is quite nice too.
The reason I mention to still design in 4.7, is *I* think if I've rendered my sites to look just as good/equally so far on IE6.0, NS7.1 and now Firebird.. I think I must be doing something right. The ridged behaviour of 4.7 obviously keeps me grounded, and doing the right thing. Perhaps the only upset I think I may fall into is JS and some CSS. Which I will check on all three browsers. My sites although not overly boring are still simple enough for the main reason I wanted to make sure most everyone could see them.
CSS is fantastic and now I incorporate it into my sites as well. The reason I do that is because of how much better a site is rendered if a user chooses to override the font settings on their browser settings. Well that's what I've experienced so far. As for what PCInk and Victor suggested about sales increases etc.. I've never really tested that because as I can see my sites have been accessible in at least the three browsers and versions earlier (IE/Netscape) that I've designed specifically for. Must be a good thing.. and in the past I've already decided I will not bother with checking under the other browsers since only 1% or with some, none are detected in my overall logs anyway. Besides with my obsessive coding for the two browsers already.. there's no need to send my self to an instituition trying to get my sites to work in Opera/Konqueror etc... :)
Final thought however... I will probably stick with IE when just surfing because I think the speed is slightly better than Firebird, and of course with 4.7 there are not alot of sites that read correctly anymore in this browser.
You design with your users in mind, not your personal bias. If 4% of your market still uses NN4, then you might want to consider taking the extra time to make your site NN4-friendly (or at least fail gracefully).
If you refuse to code for IE because of personal dislike/non-W3C compliance, you're selling yourself short. Most of us are elitist or super-picky about stuff, so we have to axe ourselves out of the design equation. It's not a question of "how would I react?" but rather a question of "how would a normal user react?"
Frankly, the normal user doesn't give a damn how you feel about IE. They just care that your site works in their browser. Why would you ignore that?
On our end, we try to design for as much as possible. Sure, it's a pain and it takes a little more time but it's the ONLY way to do business.
Every browser that you ignore is a loss. Why lose 5% of your market over a little extra CSS? Hell, why risk 50-75% of your market for ANY REASON WHATSOEVER?
IE: It's buggy, it's crap, but most people use it.
there's no need to send my self to an instituition trying to get my sites to work in Opera/Konqueror etc.
Oh, and to add to your list of browsers... the Mac version of IE is a completely different browser to the Windows version. Although it's CSS support is superior to IE's, it's known for bugs, especially with tables and is also horrendously slow. Fortunately, Microsoft have recently discontinued the Mac version of their browser in favour of Apple's new Safari browser. Although there are still a number of MacIE users around, it's market share will decrease as most users switch to Safari. Anyhow, it was mentioned in a previous thread that unlike most Windows users, most Mac users will switch browsers often in order for various websites to work. It was mentioned that it's common for the same IP number to visit in say Safari, and then come back immediately after in say IE 5. However, amongst Windows users, it's unusual for the same IP number to visit in say Netscape 7, and then come back immediately after in IE 6.
[edited by: hartlandcat at 10:50 pm (utc) on Oct. 28, 2003]
Even though she's an IT pro, she probably hasn't bothered to upgrade her browser since she bought her last PC. No longer are folks replacing their PCs every 2.5 years with so many gigabytes, gigahertz and a poor economy.
I tried replacing the span tags inside the tables (which I recall caused problems before in 4.7) with old i, b and font tags. Still looks like garbage. All pages passed the W3C validator for HTML 4.01. Any suggestions for debugging?
Are you absolutely sure about that? Netscape 7.1 is simply Mozilla 1.4 with an "N" instead of an "M" in the top right corner, different desktop icons, AIM & ICQ instead of ChatZilla, support for Netscape Webmail and AOL Mail and a few other corporate AOL-Netscape stuff.
Unfortunately yes. Presumably the browser has been slowed down for a purpose, but I've no idea why.
Every browser that you ignore is a loss. Why lose 5% of your market over a little extra CSS?
Thanks for the support. I'm making a stronger claim than saying ignoring 5% of browsers loses you 5% of your market.
I'm saying you could be losing 5% of the entire market.
Take an extreme case where there are 100 equal competitors (ie each should expect 1% of the market), in a market where 4% use NN (or other non-IE browser).
Now imagine only one of those competitors is NN (or other non-IE browser) friendly. That competitor gets 4% of the market plus 1% of what is left: ie 4 + 96/100 = 4.96% of the market.
Everyone else gets 0.96%. The NN-friendly site is making five times the money.
It is also likely that 1% of the market is in some way visually disabled, and about 3% are on slow lines or have some other access difficulties.
If that one competitor has the only site that works well with all these "minorities", they'll be getting:
(4 + 1 + 3) + 92/100 = 8.92% of the market.
And all the rest will have 0.92 each.
That makes sense to me -- a competitor who cares about the "minorities" getting nearly ten times the business of the 99 who "can't be bothered because it's only 8%"
It is also only going to take a 1% shift away from IE-dominence for the non-IE friendly guy to be ordering a new yacht.
That makes sense to me -- a competitor who cares about the "minorities" getting nearly ten times the business of the 99 who "can't be bothered because it's only 8%"
The way I think.. (just my opinion).. I don't usually buy from a site that looks like a document.. the more visually pleasing and interactive the site is.. I'm more prone to dish out my credit card. So that leaves the webmasters' (the other group), whom has thought out the design of their site in at least the 2 major updated browsers, including some pretty innovative ideas to keep their visitors, which equals to me double their productivity. So hence they would be making up that 8% which would probably buy more than that minority group anyhow. Does that make sense? did I understand you correctly? I'm all for pleasing your customers.. but there are some things you can't control, and there are some customers you can't please just like IRL. I feel if you build a quality website, that functions well.. with design, navigation, good products, or is comparable or maybe slightly better than your competition, plus you make it readable for at least the 2 major browsers, your chances of success are pretty good, and that the other 8% may not even affect you at all because you've made yourself quite well rounded/even with everything you've thought out, which in turn may draw in more paying customers just with that 92%. (hmmm.. in edit.. I base this on what the majority of your users are. Of course if that 92% of your visitors are using Opera or something like that.. then for sure you build for them -- LOL.. sometimes I "overthink".)
All in all.. I came in here looking for advice because I was pretty sad at the thought that Netscape might be dead. Besides my logs telling me this.. the whole world with their statistics were saying the same thing. My major question.. do I give up one of my favorite browsers? No.. and thanks to all of you and your opinions you really have made me once again believe that Netscape or at least Mozilla isn't dead. So only a few days ago.. I had two browsers, and now I have three... and now I'm on my way to check out Opera, because hartlandcat said it was pretty fast, and comparable :)