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This site best viewed with…

Old computer
Ok, so the great part about technology is the rapid advancement that it is known for. Just picture a few years ago there was Netscape 4, Internet Explorer 3 and they were going head to head in the browser wars. Ahh, that was the day. But moving to modern times, there is a multitude of browsers out for use, each with their own unique styles, users and methods of rendering web pages. Some of them do a great job, such as the Mozilla Firefox browser, Opera and even Internet Explorer 7 has improved by leaps and bounds. But this poses a unique problem to web developers and even users, without them knowing it.

One of the biggest issues we face as web designers and developers is ensuring that the product we create renders the same in the most browsers as possible. This can be a huge task, especially if the site is expansive or rich with “web 2.0” designs. Why? Well, the more you use Cascading Style Sheets as an element in creating standards based sites, the more problems you will encounter trying to appease every browsers rendering model. This can create headaches trying to get that site to look just perfect in every browser, but there is hope.

Back in the initial days of the internet and even now, you can find sites that say “this site best viewed with browser X”. Maybe we should go back to doing that. Why go backwards you ask? Well, the answer is pretty simple. When Internet Explorer 7 came out some time ago, it was known that Microsoft was finally listening to the design and development community about fixing known rendering issues with its version 6 browser. They were even fixing issues in version 7 that went back into version 5 of Internet Explorer. Since Microsoft has made upgrading to version 7 a critical update, I am wondering why I am still getting more than 40% of my visitors using version 6 of Internet Explorer?

What hit me was a recent article I read while perusing my RSS feeds. Megan McDermott has noticed this issue as well and wonders why more people don’t upgrade to the latest version of Internet Explorer. I agree with her that people really should upgrade their browsers, not only for the security features that have been improved, but also for the browsing experience that will improve because of the behind the scenes features working better. Features such as improved rendering engines, better performance and especially security features in the day of trojan horse viruses and spyware.

But how can we convince the IT folks that run networks of hundreds and even thousands of machines that they should upgrade? I’m not sure, but maybe we all can push the message that if a better product is available and it’s free, why not?

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