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View Poll Results: Should you design your pages with non-css browsers in mind?

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  • Don't worry about it. Everyone has CSS! Rely on it totally!

    17 51.52%
  • BOTH! You gotta have an alternative for compatibility with non-CSS browsers/interfaces.

    13 39.39%
  • I never use CSS at all. I probably have netscape navigator 1.1

    3 9.09%
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  1. #1
    One website at a time mmj's Avatar
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    Hi,

    How many people/browsers cannot view CSS? Any?

    Do you think it is worth designing with font tags and such, so it looks ok on non-css browsers/interfaces?

  2. #2
    I believe you have my stapler. scrubz's Avatar
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    Almost everything I work on uses stylesheets. You have to go back to IE 2.0 and Netscape 3.0 (4.0.6 on a Mac) before you lose stylesheet support. And granted there are older versions of AOL, browsers for Linux, Unix, etc. that don't support stylesheets, but the number of users just doesn't make it worth my while to code for them.

  3. #3
    I believe you have my stapler. scrubz's Avatar
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    P.S. In case you're curious, http://hotwired.lycos.com/webmonkey/...browser_chart/ is a good reference for compatibility among browsers.

  4. #4
    One website at a time mmj's Avatar
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    thanks.

    Up to now I've always used stylesheets as a secondary mechanism to the html, but now I realise - who need's em?

    Sure the page will look wierd or horrible on netscape 3, but at least the links are clickable! It can be used.

  5. #5
    The Hiding One lynlimz's Avatar
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    yes mmj.
    css is the closest you can get to attain compatibility in all the major browsers.
    "Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world."
    -- Albert Einstein

  6. #6
    junkyrddog's Other Half emmester's Avatar
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    I recently started using stylesheets, and they are seriously a godsend, especially when doing a layout changed.

  7. #7
    The Hiding One lynlimz's Avatar
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    definitely.
    i did several revamps on my site, changing table widths, text formats, alignments. it was simple..as i use css.
    "Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world."
    -- Albert Einstein

  8. #8
    Team SitePoint AlexW's Avatar
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    It's not a decision you can really make as a blanket decision. I think it should be made on a case by case basis. You have to know your client (if you have one) and your userbase thoroughly. Study your stats.

    Sitepoint has a really diverse userbase using all kinds of browsing technology. We really can't afford to be presenting ourselves as authorities in web programming and presenting a site that looks appalling in 8% of browsers that view the site. Different sites with different audiences can probably 'draw the line' a little farther up the browser ladder than we do.

    Having said that, I must admit that it's only in the last month or so that I've seriously started considering developing sites that don't look perfect in Netscape 4.0-4.7. With IE 6.0, Netscape 6.0 and Opera 5.0 all virtually completely supporting CSS2, this is the first time in history users have little excuse for not upgrading to a standards compliant browser.

    The only issue really left is whether to pander to Netscape 4+ (Netscape 3.0 user don't seem to bother complaining anymore). I have a copy of a perfectly legitimate stylesheet that will crash your NS4 in seconds every time. Obviously many websurfers take exception to that sort of behavior when trying to surf a site. Unfortunately they tend to always blame the site, and not buggy browsers. That makes it your problem.

    NS4 only supports about 45% of the CSS1 spec and the stuff if does support is quirky at best, and mindbendingly stupid at worst. Getting complex stuff to work in it tends to mean fat code.
    Alex Walker
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  9. #9
    SitePoint Guru
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    According to the stats on my two busier, but totally separate sites, Netscape 4x browsers make up 12% and 11.64% of the traffic respectively.The only hits I can find for Netscape 6 seem to be my own, from when I was testing it out. I haven't looked at these in depth for a while. There's a disturbingly healthy percentage of 640x480 screen size, too - along with resolutions up to 1600 wide. Aaaargh!

    note: when i say busier sites, I don't mean anything like the numbers Sitepoints gets. I just mean a few hundred unique visitors a week on a regular basis. A much smaller pool of users to look at.
    Last edited by psalzer; Mar 29, 2001 at 21:27.

  10. #10
    Team SitePoint AlexW's Avatar
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    We gave up designing for 640x480 a while back, and don't seem to get any complaints even though there is a small percentage of users still operating with that screen res.

    The lack of NS6 users at your site seem a touch strange, psalzer. What sort of content and audience do your sites cater to?
    Alex Walker
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  11. #11
    The Hiding One lynlimz's Avatar
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    i get netscape 6 users once in a blue moon. =) nothing surprising. aterall, netscape fans ain't happy with netscape 6. majority are sticking to netscpae 4.

    yep. even huge corporate companies set their computer's resolution to 800 by 600.
    "Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world."
    -- Albert Einstein

  12. #12
    SitePoint Member Avy's Avatar
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    It seems that NS6 takes 5 solid minutes to load on a 56k modem

  13. #13
    The Hiding One lynlimz's Avatar
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    really? it does?
    mozilla 0.8.1 performs better then netscape on my comp
    "Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world."
    -- Albert Einstein

  14. #14
    SitePoint Guru
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    None of my sites are for a particularly computer oriented audience, necessarily. Lots of my visitors can't deal with a forum like this, for instance. That's one of the reasons that this whole standards thing is such a conflict when it comes some small sites like the ones I work on. There are lots of people just learning to use the web and upgrading a browser isn't a priority at all. It scares them, in fact. But the variety of users and computers on some kinds of sites is mind boggling. I do one for a Women's Bar Association. The audience is the members of the Association. Some are prosperous attorneys with up-to-date offices and others (like the president of the association) work for non-profit organizations and don't make a lot of money and use their organizations' ancient computers with tiny monitors to access the web. Just going by the numbers doesn't work for every kind of site.

  15. #15
    SitePoint Guru CJ's Avatar
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    According to my browser stats 99.9% of all my visitors use a CSS enabled browser. It is very important you look at the usergroup that will be visiting your website. If they are a professional website builders audience you're extremely safe that everyone will see the pages correctly. If you deliver services to schools however you might worry. Because I know schools don't like to upgrade their software.

  16. #16
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy TheOriginalH's Avatar
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    My hobbyhorse

    We gave up designing for 640x480 a while back
    Who are "we"?

    If you run just one site (to promote or be used by yourself), then this attitude is acceptable. If you design for ANYBODY else, then you must make this clear to clients, or risk unhappy clients and possible legal action. As I have said time and time again, there are still LOADS of 640*480 users, especially corporates. One company (a major financial institution) that I worked for had somewhere in the region of 20,000 workstations ALL set to 640*480. My current firm (while substantially smaller) has the same policy (except for me....dev purposes you understand ).

    A good analogy can be found in TV advertising. Imagine paying serious dollars for a "countrywide" campaign, only to find that key regions for your product (albeit small regions) had been "missed" because the TV company considered them "insignificant". You would sue the pants off them, and quite rightly.

    I think that since there have been few test cases worldwide regarding compatibility issues and commisioning of work, all designers should have some sort of self-enforced code whereby they ensure ABSOLUTELY that were there is a danger that anyone using a certain browser/resolution will be unable to see the site as intended, or at all, that the client is made fully aware of this before either development begins or money changes hands.

    rant over :&

    H
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  17. #17
    SitePoint Zealot pony's Avatar
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    Original H, I agree. There are so many users out there in companies and the public sector using ancient kit with ancient browsers. These people are at work/study every day with free access. If they're ever going to surf that's when they'll do it, boss or no boss.(hey! I'm guilty right now).
    Having said that I'm a huge fan of CSS and reckon you should try to provide options.
    I haven't got my head fully round it but xml can potentially make accessibility/compatability issues less of a headache.
    the bottoms of my shoes are clean from walking in the rain

  18. #18
    One website at a time mmj's Avatar
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    Well even though I rely totally on CSS, I always test it in NS 4.x

    I'm fully aware of (and frustrated at) the limited support for css in that browser.
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  19. #19
    Team SitePoint AlexW's Avatar
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    Unless, as a developer, you sit down and purposefully write JS to turn 640x480 users away (and who's going to do that) our sites are always completely usesable for those users. When I say we 'stopped designing for 640x480' I am saying we no longer consider that resolution our default platform.

    In other words, when we're deciding how much text should be in a blurb, or the physical dimensions of illustrations, or where we want scrolling pages to 'fold', or relative sizes of subheadings, etc, we are making those decisions with 800X600 and 1024x768 in mind.

    You can't have it both ways. If you cater specifically for the 5% of 640x480 users (our stats) you can't help but degrade the experience of the 6% of users viewing the site at larger than 1024x768.
    Last edited by AlexW; Apr 4, 2001 at 17:34.
    Alex Walker
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  20. #20
    SitePoint Zealot pony's Avatar
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    the bottoms of my shoes are clean from walking in the rain

  21. #21
    Team SitePoint AlexW's Avatar
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    I think it can help to elegantly stretch a site from 640x480 up to 800X600, but not, for example, from 640x480 to 1280x1024.

    In the end 250 characters is still 250 characters. In a 640x480 browser that might look great as a sharp little block of text spread over 4 lines.

    That same thing in, for example, a 1600x1200 browser is one long, ugly, strung-out line, pretty low on readability.

    You have to strike some middle ground, which usually means a site that looks too cramped in 640X480 and pretty spacey in 1280x1024 and up
    Last edited by AlexW; Apr 5, 2001 at 00:38.
    Alex Walker
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    SitePoint - Learnable

  22. #22
    will code HTML for food Michel V's Avatar
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    Don't forget that some users (i'm not sure of the percentage), don't surf in maximised windows.
    Ever since i changed my res. to 1280*1024, i stopped maximised windows because they were way too big ! Instead, i discovered the joys of surfing in multiple floating windows of 800*600 pixels.
    And don't forget some Mac screens that are set to 930*something...
    [blogger: zengun] [blogware contributor: wordpress]

  23. #23
    ********* Callithumpian silver trophy freakysid's Avatar
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    Some thoughts.

    There would be a lot of users out their that don't even know what Internet Exporer (or Netscape Navigator) is - my father is probably in that group. They just know to click on the big blue "e" on the desktop to get on the internet. I really feel sorry for the tech support people at his bank and the online share trading sites he uses

    It is therefor impossible to conceive of these people updating their browsers. Firstly they can't do it, and their relatives who could don't want to either because its better that they stick with what they know how to use that mess with something new.

    Going off topic here ... Another example is my mother's uncle. They guy is about to turn 80, is stark raving mad, and guess what - he just got hooked up to the internet last Christmas. Boy do I feel sorry for hist ISPs support desk - he's got all day to drive them mad!

    Regarding netscape users. You should remember that there will be alot of ppl who are using Netscape for religious reasons. (Remember that Mosaic and then Netscape made the world wide web. Microsoft tried to create its own seperate closed proprietory subscription based internet - MSN). So thats why these people are going to scream about accessability using NS.

    I do however, think its reasonable to encourage these users to migrate to NS6 or Mozilla. The browser war is almost over - peace in our lifetime!

  24. #24
    The Hiding One lynlimz's Avatar
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    good point freaksid,...
    i know many collegues who know nothing about a browser...
    "Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world."
    -- Albert Einstein

  25. #25
    SitePoint Guru
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    "The big blue E thing?" is a very common response when trying to point people toward their browser at work.


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