The same web page design may look different depending on which Internet browser is being used to view your page. The most common browser (supplied by Microsoft) is called Internet Explorer. However, it is important to recognise that there are a growing number of users using alternative browsers to the one supplied by Microsoft. The most common emerging browser is one called Mozilla Firefox (www.getfirefox.com). Unfortunately, different browsers require the web page design to be coded differently in order to look acceptable – this is further compounded by the fact that sometimes different versions of the same browser also need to be coded differently.
There are a number of different ways that this is handled:
There are a number of standards called the “W3C standards” for coding web pages. Most of the browsers do not yet support all the standards, for various reasons, but they are slowly conforming and getting closer to the W3C standards. By conforming to the W3C standards on your web site you can maximise your browser compatibility and future-proof your web page design.
On a user’s first visit to your web site it is possible to detect what browser they are using. The appropriate web site ‘code’ can then be customised and presented to the end user, depending on their browser, to help ensure your web page design looks the same to everyone.
If, for some reason, a user has certain features turned off in their browser, that they’ll require to view your web page design, then your web site should ‘gracefully degrade’ to a lower level of functionality, for their set up. The user experience may be restricted but they should still be able to complete basic tasks, such as view the site and retrieve contact details.