I’ve been hearing for quite a while how HTML5 and CSS3 are going to ignite the web (as if it needed any help). Most of this talk started with the release of the iPad and Apple’s anti-Flash stance.
Here’s the problem. Most of the browsers out there do not understand HTML5 yet. It’s the same thing web designers have had to think about when designing for Internet Explorer.
IE6 never did web standards very well so you had to add *hacks* to work around it. Only recently have I begun to ignore IE6 in my designs even though it was first released in 2001. I’ll probably still even have a peak just to be sure my page doesn’t look horrible in it.
Even the newest IE still doesn’t get CSS rounded corners or text shadows. Basic design elements. So you’re left with a dilemma of whether to design something new and cool for your visitors, but worry about how many people won’t be able to see it or is it better to fall back on older more browser friendly techniques.
My deciding factor is usually how well a technique fails. If rounded corners or text shadows fail, you just don’t see them, not too bad. HTML5 might just fail completely. I do see it being eased in as more browsers are comfortable with it, but it’s nowhere near an end all right now and isn’t due to fully kick in until the year 2022 or later.
Right now a few browsers do support HTML5 including Google Chrome and if you would like to see some cool previews Mashable has some
I have a category with some of my favorite site designs. These are not my sites, but they are the kinds of designs that I like in a website. There are different reasons that I picked these site designs, they all look good and are clear and easy to use. Sometimes I just like a picture or the name. Some of the sites are not in English and I still know what they are about.
The newest one is called RIPIE6.
RIPIE6 is the obituary notice of Internet Explorer 6′s death. I have written before about how I would like to get rid of IE6. Here’s a great looking site that agrees.
Not too long ago I wrote about how it would be nice if we could get rid of IE6 on the web. Recently the more I’m reading about browsers the more I think that IE in general is losing the war. Several years ago when Microsoft pushed Netscape off of everyone’s computer it was declared that the browser war was over and IE won. For a while website designers only had to worry about that one browser.
Then came Safari, Firefox and others when web surfers saw just how limiting IE could be. They (myself included) began to switch despite MS’s best efforts to hold on to them. Many businesses are still holding on to their Explorer only ways, but I see that changing as well. There is news that Firefox is now ahead of Internet Explorer in Europe and Matts Cutts of Google posted his blog’s browser breakdown over the weekend showing that Chrome could become a player as well. I don’t see those Chrome visitors here yet and his numbers will be slanted by what he uses, but I like it on my phone.
My opinion is that it’s all for the best, more choices are almost always better. Having viable alternatives will make those who want to force you use “what’s best for you” reconsider their thinking. Anyone who looks at how IE8 works can see that. It’s good for me because I can think of web standards and worry less and less about IE “hacks” to my pages. The question to ask…
One of the things that I do when I design a site is that I look at it in many different browsers. Your site can look much different in each one.
One of the worst has always been Internet Explorer. When I am browsing the web for work or pleasure I prefer Firefox, which is a browser that follows the standards set up by the 3WC pretty well, but when you are designing a site you neede to account for all of the browsers that visitors are using. Luckily I don’t see many visitors that are still using IE5, but there are still more than you would think that are using IE6. IE6 is a very old browser that doesn’t follow established web standards very well and is much less secure, but because so many people are still using it you have to account for it’s quarks. This can be a significant amount of time and energy.
A large group in Norway has started a campaign to get rid of the IE6 browser. They are urging people to upgrade to IE7 (IE8 is due out very soon) or one of the much more standards compliant browsers like Firefox or Opera by putting warnings on their sites and letting everyone know about their campaign.
Let me say that I hardily support their efforts and if you are still using IE6 (or worse yet IE5) please upgrade or switch to something else. Help all of us who are designing websites to spend more effort in making websites look and work better instead of trying to fit a square pegs into round holes.
Whenever I design a new site I like to have a look at in all kinds of different browsers to see how it looks. Now days I usually have a look at it with my phone as well.
One of the most popular ones has always been Internet Explorer and as I have written about before Microsoft tends to make up their own “standards” and you can never be sure how your site is going to look in IE. Firefox has a cool little plug in called IE Tab that lets you switch between Firefox and whatever version of IE that you have installed in your computer.
The problem becomes when you want to see it in older versions of IE. I don’t worry too much about version 5.5 any more, but I still see quite a few visitors stopping by with IE6 and once you have upgraded to IE7 it’s pretty hard to go back.
I used to dig my old computer out of the drawer, fire it up and go to the new site, but now I’ve found IETester. It’s a free program that lets you view pages in IE 5.5, 6, 7 and even IE8 beta 1. It’s a really useful tool for web designers and it’s free.
I have a section of my site where I have a tutorial about starting a web site.
It’s a do-it-yourself kind of thing.
I am adding a new page called Who Are You Designing For?
I really like websites that use shadows well.
See my favorite sites.
png images make the best shadows because you can set the opacity.
IE6 doesn’t read this and shows your clear backgrounds as solid.
IE6 is currently used by about a third of visitors.
So the question becomes at what point is it worth putting any cool looking effect on a site if 50% of the visitors won’t see it or have it distorted. How about 30%? 20%?
In the end it’s the site’s owner that will decide.