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  1. #1
    <code></code><WoW></WoW> nukeemusn's Avatar
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    The Immovable Designer

    Say you were the developer working on a team with a designer. Now, no doubt this designer is wonderful, a visionary, the next Rembrandt, whatever: He, in all his majesty, comes to you with this beautiful design. Unfortunately, despite hours upon hours, days, nay; months of tweaking and fixing, you just can't get it to look identical in every browser. It's not that far off, it's just not perfect. And due to some browsers CSS support, some features have been made to look less than perfect.

    How would you explain to this ego-centric designer that cross-browser synergy (I say synergy because it sounds cool, and "identicalness" and "identicality" are not (to my knowledge) words) is nothing but a fairy tale for all but the simplest of designs (speaking from a standards-compliance standpoint), and that this really isn't the end of the world?
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  2. #2
    I Love Licorice silver trophybronze trophy Datura's Avatar
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    Looking at it from the angle of the artist that has worked in many different fields, I think the way to explain it to this artist is to point out that this medium you have to work in is limited by its very nature at this point, that you can imagine things far beyond what is possible right now.

    Compare it perhaps to wanting to create a painting on a canvas with a stick of charcoal. Impossible. The medium always has limitations by its nature. In this case the medium is the browser (are the browsers) and you can only render a picture within this limitation.

    Your medium is also like a different language, precise meaning not easily translated from the other language, detail gets lost and must be substituted -- Datura
    Ulrike
    TUTs: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

  3. #3
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Tailslide's Avatar
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    To add to Datura's comments - try to explain to the designer that the web is a totally different environment to print design etc.

    You actually have very little control over how the page is seen - the viewer might be using enlarged fonts; they might have CSS switched off; they could be using any number of screen resolutions; they could be using a PDA or a screenreader!

    A certain amount of flexibility HAS to be built in to designs or they will break - badly.

    It's a totally different medium and they need to build flexibility in or risk failure.
    Little Blue Plane Web Design
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  4. #4
    SitePoint Wizard trampt's Avatar
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    You should be able to get a site to look the same across IE6, FF2, Safari2 & Opera ... just say you support all the latest browsers and try and make it degrade somewhat gracefully on other older browsers.

  5. #5
    <code></code><WoW></WoW> nukeemusn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trampt View Post
    You should be able to get a site to look the same across IE6, FF2, Safari2 & Opera ... just say you support all the latest browsers and try and make it degrade somewhat gracefully on other older browsers.
    True enough, but on a second note, why do we even WANT them to be identical? It's like saying that people with HDTV and regular TV should get the same experience, regardless of the technology they're using. Yes, the design should degrade gracefully, but degrade from where? Degrade form a design already crippled by the "need" to make it cross-browser identical? Why not design something super-whamidyne for Firefox and Opera (for example), taking full advantage of their better capabilities, and have it degrade FROM THERE to something for IE6? Just because IE6 is the "most popular" browser doesn't mean that we should cripple our designs to make it happy. Sure, make sure the designs work well in it, but let those with better browsers get a better experience.

    Also, maybe this way more people will start using Firefox and Opera, so the issue of the "mos popular Browser" being IE might go away in a few years.
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    I Love Licorice silver trophybronze trophy Datura's Avatar
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    But it is in your interest that the most popular browser out there will render the way you design it. You can never force the public to do anything, they go where it is the most convenient and easiest to get into -- Datura
    Ulrike
    TUTs: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

  7. #7
    SitePoint Addict Procode's Avatar
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    If he is such a great designer... he should know something about the web...

  8. #8
    SitePoint Addict Robert_2006's Avatar
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    Paint the same painting on paper, then paint it on a rock, paint it on the street and finally a tree. They tell your artist to choose what he wants it painted on.

  9. #9
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    If you really need to illustrate the effects of differnet browsers rendering the same graphic, put a graphic on a thin rubber or latex sheet. As the artist watches:

    "this is how a user with IE6 will see your artwork"----leave it laying normally
    "This is how a user with ------ will see your artwork" ----Strech it a bit
    "this is how a user........." -----distort the graphic even more.

    Your artist should be able to get the idea but won't like it.

    Al

  10. #10
    I Love Licorice silver trophybronze trophy Datura's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alhefner View Post
    If you really need to illustrate the effects of differnet browsers rendering the same graphic, put a graphic on a thin rubber or latex sheet. As the artist watches:

    "this is how a user with IE6 will see your artwork"----leave it laying normally
    "This is how a user with ------ will see your artwork" ----Strech it a bit
    "this is how a user........." -----distort the graphic even more.

    Your artist should be able to get the idea but won't like it.

    Al
    This is a fantastic example, wish I would have thought about it -- Datura
    Ulrike
    TUTs: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

  11. #11
    <code></code><WoW></WoW> nukeemusn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Datura View Post
    But it is in your interest that the most popular browser out there will render the way you design it. You can never force the public to do anything, they go where it is the most convenient and easiest to get into -- Datura
    The thing is that designers get way too self-involved with the "way they designed it". It is the end user's experience that matters, not the designers artistic vision. If a well styled drop-down menu degrades gracefully into a styled, but visible, unordered list that fits into the rest of the design, then I'd say mission accomplished. And the end user will never know (or, frankly) care if they're seeing it the way it was "designed." All they care about is the experience they're ... um... experiencing... at the moment. And if that is positive, then it doesn't matter what they may be missing because they're in IE6. They'll probably never KNOW what they're missing.

    As far as the most "popular" browser changing, it's a slow, word-of-mouth process, fighting upstream against the OS default. But think about how word of mouth spreads. A geek (i.e. Firefox user) is going to consistently get a better experience (If we stop designing with IE6 in mind) than someone using IE6. Now chances are, that geek has non-geek friends, whom he will convince to switch to FF. They will, in turn, get a better browsing experience, and go on to tell their friends, etc. But the change has to start with us refusing to cater to the whims, or "quirks", of inadequate browsers.

    Why am I so adamant about this topic? I don't know, but it's fun being adamant about stuff.
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  12. #12
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophybronze trophy Nadia P's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Procode View Post
    If he is such a great designer... he should know something about the web...
    You'd be surprised ! Many graphic artists/designers have no comprehension that their vision will not necessarily translate as well to the web ...... I think there should be something in their training manuals to educate them to this fact :-)

    Nadia

  13. #13
    I Love Licorice silver trophybronze trophy Datura's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nukeemusn View Post
    The thing is that designers get way too self-involved with the "way they designed it". It is the end user's experience that matters, not the designers artistic vision. If a well styled drop-down menu degrades gracefully into a styled, but visible, unordered list that fits into the rest of the design, then I'd say mission accomplished. And the end user will never know (or, frankly) care if they're seeing it the way it was "designed." All they care about is the experience they're ... um... experiencing... at the moment. And if that is positive, then it doesn't matter what they may be missing because they're in IE6. They'll probably never KNOW what they're missing.
    Well, that is blatantly over generalized statement there about designers. I am a designer and have never neglected to fully take into consideration all these aspects.

    Quote Originally Posted by nukeemusn View Post
    As far as the most "popular" browser changing, it's a slow, word-of-mouth process, fighting upstream against the OS default. But think about how word of mouth spreads. A geek (i.e. Firefox user) is going to consistently get a better experience (If we stop designing with IE6 in mind) than someone using IE6. Now chances are, that geek has non-geek friends, whom he will convince to switch to FF. They will, in turn, get a better browsing experience, and go on to tell their friends, etc. But the change has to start with us refusing to cater to the whims, or "quirks", of inadequate browsers.
    I do not think that going this way will accomplish your goal. When you talk to the average user of the web, not to geeks and such, you will find that most people barely know what browser means. They take what is installed on the machine when they purchase it.

    Designing a site with the intend to strong-arm these people away from their browser is not going to work because those very people do not even see the difference. They get their information and do not really care how it is presented.

    And if you as a designer of a site do not cater to how the most popular browsers render, you are not doing your customer for whom you design a favor. The exposure will be to narrow. Yes, your design will look more like intended and better, but for a small audience -- Datura
    Ulrike
    TUTs: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

  14. #14
    <code></code><WoW></WoW> nukeemusn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Datura View Post
    Well, that is blatantly over generalized statement there about designers. I am a designer and have never neglected to fully take into consideration all these aspects.
    True. I was over-generalizing. Just making a point, though, I know that ALL designers aren't like that...

    Quote Originally Posted by Datura View Post
    They take what is installed on the machine when they purchase it.
    Which is the ONLY reason IE is more popular than Firefox

    Quote Originally Posted by Datura View Post
    Designing a site with the intend to strong-arm these people away from their browser is not going to work because those very people do not even see the difference. They get their information and do not really care how it is presented.
    The intent isn't to strong-arm anyone. It is about bringing the best possible experience to the user. And since most users won't ever see the site in another browser, why not take full advantage of each browsers' capabilities?

    Quote Originally Posted by Datura View Post
    And if you as a designer of a site do not cater to how the most popular browsers render, you are not doing your customer for whom you design a favor. The exposure will be to narrow. Yes, your design will look more like intended and better, but for a small audience -- Datura
    I'm not advocating crippling a site so that it is worse off in IE. What I'm saying is that if, for example, Firefox has a capability, within the realm of standards, and this capability will enhance the user experience, but IE doesn't support it, why cripple it in FF just to make it identical with IE? Why not implement the feature in Firefox, and have it degrade gracefully in IE? It's just that I think that making sites IDENTICAL in different browsers, when different browsers have different abilities, not only robs a certain percentage of users of having the best possible experience, but it reinforces the use of IE in the general public, because people DON'T know that three's better alternatives, because they can't see a difference.
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