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24 ways to impress your friends

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Andy Mabbutt

Two great articles by Meagan and Andy, who articulate and demonstrate the benefits of designing “in the browser” and how we’ll be able to code in the future. However, as has been frequently been mentioned, we must design web sites for the real world today; how things really are not how we’d like them to be.

A quick look at the visitor statistics for half a dozen of my sites show that the majority of users browse with Internet Explorer and that IE6 accounts for just over 10% (thankfully falling). I wondered how Andy explained (and if he showed them) how his sites look to these thousands of visitors using, for whatever reason, an old browser. The answer it seems is what they don’t know can’t harm them. While Meagan’s tutorial and great design is inspirational the end product is totally unacceptable in IE6 and poor in IE8 – no business would pay to be represented in this way.

Ignoring people using old browsers or providing a substandard visual experience for them is as foolhardy as ignoring disabled users.

As a web designer I love the new things I can do with modern CSS but the time is not yet here when we can use them for commercial projects. There is no benefit in using CSS 3 if you have to create solid and gradient backgrounds, rounded corner graphics, non-semantic mark up / javascript, use image replacement and other assorted “hacks” to create a aesthetically pleasing and professional design for the majority of your audience.