Last week I wrote an article about switching your web browser. In that article I touched upon how websites can look different in different browsers, but there’s lots more to discuss just in this small area. So here we are.
There’s a simple fact of a website’s life: websites look different in different browsers.
It’s something that can really annoy people who are having websites created for them, but hopefully throughout the next 5 minutes or so you’ll understand a bit more about why this happens and actually, why it’ll mean your website will be better if it looks different in web browsers.
This is probably the single most popular reason for websites looking different. As I mentioned in my last article about picking a web browser, modern web browsers are much faster, more efficient and more secure.
If you’re using an older version of a web browser such as Internet Explorer 6 or 7, your website will more than likely look different in those web browsers.
At Genius Division we merely provide a text-based design for Internet Explorer 6, and we’re increasingly supporting Internet Explorer 7 less. Shortly we’ll start providing Internet Explorer 7 a text-based design too.
We do this so we can build the most modern and future-proofed website we’re capable of, and that only comes from not limiting our websites to older browsers that are rapidly losing market share and aren’t relevant anymore.
Sometimes you’ve taken the time to download and use a nice shiny modern browser, but you’ve noticed your website looks broken in your browser. Naturally, this is really frustrating.
This is usually down to a few things:
Put simply, your computer may just not be up to the job of displaying your website properly. If you’ve got an old computer, it may struggle with advanced things like displaying video properly or animations, or displaying large image galleries.
If your computer struggles to display something like Facebook, then it’s probably about time you upgraded your computer.
Some other things could cause your website to display differently on your computer, such as not having the right fonts installed, not having the proper browser plugins installed (such as Adobe Reader to allow you to view PDFs), and a multitude of other things too.
Sometimes a website is actually broken. We all make mistakes and miss things. Just tell your web agency what the issue is, what browser and operating system you’re using (Windows and the version number for example), and they’ll probably get straight on it for you.
If you think this might be the case, ask your web agency if your new website is using anything special or relying on a particular technology to make it work properly. They should be able to help you out here to get to the bottom of it.
And after you’ve installed a nice new modern browser, bought a nice new computer, and made sure you’ve got all the plugins and software you need, your new website probably still won’t look the same as it does on one of your other devices.
Ultimately it doesn’t really matter what your website looks like for you, but it really does matter what it looks like for your clients and audience. And your audience are using an even more varied assortment of browsers than you are.
It’s impossible to make websties look the same across everything. In fact, it’s largely a big waste of time attempting to, because they’ll still always be someone out there using a browser to view your nice new website that won’t work properly.
This question should always be answered after looking at visitor statistics and data. If you can, before you get your website redesigned, install Google Analytics and collect some statistics. This will be good data that a web agency could use to find out what web browsers your audience is using.
If a large majority of your audience is public sector based such as councils and government, we’d usually advise making sure your website works down to as low as Internet Explorer 7 and in extreme cases Internet Explorer 6.
Large organisations tend to have slower update cycles than most organisations, so they can be stuck with old software for a long time. Internet Explorer 6 is dying out in the public sector, but it’s taking a while.
Web agencies spend a lot of time thinking about what browsers to support, and when to change how they support them. Trust me, they’ve spent far too much time learning the niggles with each browser, so they know what they’re doing.
Trust your web agency’s opinion on browsers, and which browsers to support. Unless a large portion of your audience is using an outdated browser, there’s no real reason to waste time supporting it, even if you use that browser.
Web agencies have learned to embrace this ebb and flow in web design, and you should too. Don’t force your web agency to do it the old way: embrace their new ways of thinking. They’re the experts.No comments yet. Make us feel better.
It’s with massive pride and a beaming smile on our faces that we can tell you some news we’ve been waiting to say for a while: we’ve just hired our first proper employee, and he’s called Oliver.
At nearly 18, he’s a genuine Wunderkind and we’re really excited that he’s joining Genius Division.
He’ll be working alongside me to design websites, interfaces and other digital stuff, as well as building the HTML & CSS. He’ll be helping me do our website stuff and blogging too, so you may see him pop up here shortly writing articles.
Here’s a fact about him that I still don’t quite believe: he’s never eaten jelly. Or trifle. But thankfully, he’s seen Star Wars.No comments yet. Make us feel better.