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Cross Browser Development

Developing and designing websites can be hard enough just coming up with a successful design, layout, and construction, but how will your site hold up in 1 of the millions of browsers out there?  Here are a few tips that you can follow to help make your next website design/development faster and easier.

First and foremost when designing a website you need to know your target audience, and what you are looking to get from your site.  With a target audience you know what your visitors will be looking for as well as the most common browsers that will be used to visit your site.  These days when developing a site you have to work with the “Big 3”: Firefox (version 1, 2, and 3), Internet Explorer (at least version 6 and 7), and Safari (at least version 2 and 3).  You also can’t forget about some of the other popular browsers, including: Opera (used on mobile phones, Nintendo DS, Wii, etc.), and Lynx (for a text-only view of your site).

Now that you know your target audience and a little of what your visitors are expecting you need to start work on your site with a good base.  This means developing valid and compliant code and styles, and developing for the most common browsers (at least internet explorer 6/7 and Firefox, preferably Firefox first).  Firefox also has some great add-on tools that you can use to speed up development of your site (Firebug is awesome!).

You’re not done yet!  You have a target audience, and you’ve started building out your website and made sure it’s valid and works for the most common browsers, but you also need to test and track the results of your effort.  This means using tools to test load times (Firebug or Pingdom are great), validating all of your code and styles, and optimizing your site and providing alternative content as a last result to browsers that don’t support all of your site’s features (Flash or Javascript features as an example, SWFObject is great for alternate content).

8 replies on “Cross Browser Development”

Tell me about it. I was making a site last week. It took me one day to do the HTML and CSS for the homepage and then a whole 3 days to get it to work properly in IE6,7 and 8. It worked first time in Safari, not a single problem and was only a few glitches in Opera.

I made a mistake when first starting to design my site of only looking at it through firefox. It would seem firefox would let you get away with some mistakes that IE was not forgiving. This meant that IE users were seeing a poorly formatted page – 70% of users use IE so this was a huge error

Nice post I can’t wait for the day you no long need to support IE6 it slows down web development so much but sometime there will be a day when all browsers are standards compliant. I also use Firebug and agree it’s a great extension. Thanks and keep up the great work.

Michael Stewarts last blog post..How to Spoof an Email

I really like this, would you mind if I used some of your content? In return you of course keep the credit and get a link back to your site. Thanks.

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