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24 ways to impress your friends

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Chris Korhonen

Very nice tutorial – its always good to see the new CSS3 techniques put to good use, though I do disagree to some extent with your comments about whether websites have to look the same in every browser.

Obviously, the answer is no they don’t and that makes perfect sense when you consider a website as a whole. With such a range of browsers out there, trade-off’s need to be made and assuming you are following a process of graceful degradation then there should be no problems.

However, when it comes to UI elements such as form controls, buttons, navigation etc. then I would argue that it is poor usability if they do not look and/or behave in a similar fashion across different browsers.

In the example, there is a massive visual difference between the rounded-corner-gradient button and what is displayed in the less-able (but often most used) browsers. For a user who is viewing the site on different machines, such as at work and at home, it is easy to see how confusion can result when suddenly a familiar element of the UI has changed. The user isn’t going to know or care about the technical reasons behind – they will get confused/frustrated as to what is going on.

Going beyond the usability concerns around having UI controls look and feel differently cross-browser, another consideration is around branding as a whole. Many companies I work with have a defined look and feel for things like buttons in their brand style-guides. This approach makes it very difficult to respect brand identity.

Again, I enjoyed the article and I hope I’m not coming across too negative, but I think the usability side of things is an important consideration when it comes to deciding on your website implementation and the degree of cross-browser variation you are prepared to accept.