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While it’s nice to see a showcase of features to come, I really don’t see this being a viable technique for any of my clients for 2 reasons. Primarily, it would difficult to convince a client that focusing design efforts on 6%-8% of users while excluding 70% is a good idea. As a designer, taking time to tweak gradients and shadows that won’t be seen by many users seems like a waste of time, especially considering an image version of the button could be thrown in via conditional comments to support other browsers. If your arguement is that the lack of rounded corners and gradients won’t hurt the user experience, why include them at all?
Additionally, this brings back memories of when I first got into web design. I was self taught and used a variety of IE specific filters. After learning about standards and being enlightened by many a fellow designer. I stopped using them and stuck with standards.
Now it seems that browser specific filters are fine, as long as they start with -webkit or -moz. It really seems like we’re getting into the same situation by creating vendor specific code. While the vendors maybe better, it doesn’t change the fact that this encourages browser specific rendering, which is what we’ve been fighting against for years.
I know that my opinion is hardly popular, but I’m just seeing the same things happening all over again.