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How far should you go?

March 17, 2005 | Web Design & Development

Just how far should we go towards not caring about IE in our web design? I think even though we hate the browser we have little choice in dealing with it as a browser.

That said, proper coding has its merits no matter what the platform.

Now, I’m gonna pick on someone. Tom has built a nice looking site. However he’s not compatible with Windows at all. Really. While Opera and FireFox will view his site just fine neither can post comments.

IE cannot even see enough of the site to read the contents.

I even tried Links on Linux and got a “ciclical redirect” error (something I’ve never seen before) when trying to post a comment.

So this begs the question: how far should we go in our advocacy of our favorite platform and doing things just in spite of “The Evil Empire”?

Despite our hatred of Microsoft and the complete and utter pain that MSIE can be at times is it really to our benefit that we completely brush off an entire platform? I think not.

While I’m getting into the mindset that standards compliant coding and semantics aware struture is a great thing I also see that we cannot and should not cut out readership due to a principal that is not only a HUGE uphill battle on a muddly slope but really does no good at all.

Wouldn’t it serve better to protest in stories and examples that are accesible to those who continue to use the bad browser? After all, how good is your protest if it can’t be heard? When a site breaks and content is inaccessible to a browser or functionality is reduced on a platform it doesn’t say protest, it says lazy.

I like to frequent some of the blogs of some of the larger players in the web design circuit, some of them being the innovators that are elevated to status of god by some, yet I never have a problem accessing their content. Funny about that isn’t it. The people at the forefront of the fight for standards compliancy are making sure their content is accessible to everyone? Makes for a more convincing argument when you say that I don’t like hacking for MS instead of I won’t hack for MS. I see won’t as can’t.

18 Responses

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  • That’s not to pick on Tom too much though. He was just the first example I could think of since it took me 15 minutes to try and post a comment and never did get it posted.

    Shawn, March 17, 2005 8:30 am | permalink

  • This even scales up to be on the level of Microsoft. If they choose not to support CSS2 right away it says more to me that they can’t get IE to cooperate to implement the standard, or that they’d have to revoke their implementation of the box model that they’ve spent so much time defending.

    shawn, March 17, 2005 11:25 am | permalink

  • hehe. Shawn, as I said before, I believe that I should be the one to actually start avoiding IE compatibility. I think the only way to force Microsoft to actually make a decent browser, is for people like you and me who don’t have any money to lose, to start a so called, "revolution." (IE7 sounds a bit promising) I’m going to repeat what I said on my site but, bear with me. I think that there is no need for web designers to spend their time on an artwork (aka a website) just because the viewers are dull and dumb. If the viewer is not ready to view websites, then, they aren’t. (Too bad, so sad type of thing.)

    I think by not making many websites compatible with a silly browser will force users to switch. (Irritation is the key to get people moving their ass.) This of course, will force MS to make a decent browser.

    Tom, March 17, 2005 12:48 pm | permalink

  • I didn’t know you were a Linux user, shawn. Which distro? 🙂

    Tom, March 17, 2005 12:49 pm | permalink

  • I’m gonna have to argue that a bit. On the scale of our sites, we mean precisely jack shit to MS. The only thing you’ve served to do by taking that stance is to force me not to post to your blog when at work. So I forget and then end up not posting at all.

    It would be one thing to post a warning, but to be completely inaccesible to IE and have limited functionality on Windoes is just the wrong way to go, not to say impossible in a real work setting.

    Even if Zeldman and Meyer were to stop doing it I doubt MS would care because MS’s core cash comes from corporations. As long as they have them in check they don’t care. The home user doesn’t mean much to MS, Despite what they claim.

    Linux: I prefer Gentoo because of Portage. I love issuing an emerge command and not having to fuck with dependencies. Masked ebuilds are a bit of a pain but overall its pretty sweet. And on top of that Portage was brought to OS X not too long ago.

    Shawn, March 17, 2005 1:11 pm | permalink

  • I think you know my feelings on this, Shawn.

    For contract work, I ensure IE compatibility. For personal work, I ensure W3C compatibility.

    As long as every site works in IE, IE is a good browser. Right? To put that into perspective, I used Netscape 4.7 well after IE5 for Mac was released. Why? Because I hated Microsoft. Since every page was coded to pander to Netscape’s bugs, it didn’t matter. NS still rendered everything fine. But once Netscape stopped working right on many sites, I switched.

    As a web dev guy, I feel that progress and W3C compliance are more important than compatibility with obsolete browsers. To that end, my personal goals are valid xhtml, valid css.

    I’m a guerilla designer making a grass roots effort to show the world just how bad MSIE is.

    John Pennypacker, March 17, 2005 1:32 pm | permalink

  • ahh! Gentoo felluh. Nice. Most of my desktops are Gentoo, too. Portage for OSX also resides on my OSX, but it seems like most packages are masked, and some are buggy. But it’s a good start.

    As for, looking at my blog and commenting on it at work, ahem… does your company allow you to waste time on worthless sites? 😛

    Tom, March 17, 2005 1:39 pm | permalink

  • My company allows me to do anything I want, well, except for physical access to the servers… I have to perform special favors for that.

    Shawn, March 17, 2005 1:48 pm | permalink

  • on that note. What IE version are you using? On my IE6 w/ SP, my site looks okay enough. (the right bar looks misaligned, comments section looks a little misaligned, but other then that. looks fine.)

    Tom, March 17, 2005 1:55 pm | permalink

  • Using IE6 on XP SP2.

    The layout looks ok but the content gets obscured by something. 1/2 the page is not there in your main content area and I can’t click on links that I can see.

    I just went back and now I can see everything just fine… I know I’m not crazy because I’ve seen this happen before today. Maybe its the sIFR that’s freaking out.

    Firefox can get around but can’t leave comments – the page refreshes but no comment is left. I ran into this issue a while back when doing an isset($_POST). I actually had to look for the remanents of the submit button with isset($_POST[‘submit’]) or some other var that you expect.

    Shawn, March 17, 2005 2:43 pm | permalink

  • Oh, the half of the body disappearing happened for some reason with sIFR rc3. I upgraded rc4 recently. Also, for comments, you need to put your name, email, and comment; without the three, you can’t comment.

    Tom, March 17, 2005 3:03 pm | permalink

  • perhaps, i guess a little error message might help.

    Tom, March 17, 2005 3:05 pm | permalink

  • Yeah, being told why it woulnd’t enter would be nice… then I could comply.

    So, I really should remove you as my example because it was technical glitches that made me rant – even though the base rant is still valid.

    Shawn, March 17, 2005 3:28 pm | permalink

  • You still might want to check your site with a text only browser – that textarea was only 4 characters wide in Links…

    shawn, March 17, 2005 3:30 pm | permalink

  • that’s fine. Keep me up there. 🙂

    ahaha. I see why Links would only display the textarea in size 4.

    Tom, March 17, 2005 7:48 pm | permalink

  • I still say Tom should at least check his site and do some code fixes for, at the minimum, IE6. Atleast in IE6 there’s Standards and Quirks mode, so it shouldn’t be much of a problem.

    Joey B., March 18, 2005 8:20 am | permalink

  • shawn, dev has the same weirdness. (Getting rid of the whole un-floated div in IE) You know anything about this? Few things I learned is that, if I make the left floating, un-float, and make it position: absolute; it doesn’t do that, but the clear:both thing doesn’t work. Problem… Problem… Problem…

    Tom, March 25, 2005 12:32 pm | permalink

  • replaced dev. -> www. So, check it from there. : yes, I uploaded it despite the problem in IE.

    Tom, March 25, 2005 1:40 pm | permalink

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