Your Web Site vs. The Other Browser: Cross-browser Compliance

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Your website looks great.  You have a spectacular graphic design, you spent weeks planning and building, and you’ve gotten tons of positive feedback from your colleagues.  One question:  have you looked at your Web site in all of those other Web browsers?  If you haven’t, you may want to.  And you may be shocked by what you find.

“I looked at my Web site in Internet Explorer, and it looks perfect.  Internet Explorer’s the only browser I ever use.  What other browsers could their be?  It can’t look different on another operating system, can it?  What are you talking about?”

Believe it or not, there are a ton of Web browsers out there…more than what comes installed with Windows.  And they all read and display a Web site differently.  Believe me, they do…I’ve fought with all of them for almost 10 years.  As a Web Designer, I’ve seen a Web site that I’ve built look perfect in Internet Explorer 7 (IE7), but be completely broken in Internet Explorer 6 (IE6).  Even though they’re made by the same company (Microsoft), they act completely different.  Or it may look great in FF3 on a PC, but look terrible in FF3 on a Mac.  Even the exact same browser version can look different on different operating systems.

So how many browsers are we talking about?  Beacon Technologies supports nine different browsers spread across both PCs and Macs.  We code for all of them, and it’s challenging…just ask anybody on my team.  They’ll tell you how much easier our professional lives would be if we just coded Web sites for one browser.  But there is such a diverse user base out there, using all sorts of browsers.  Why should a Safari user on a Mac get short-changed when they visit your site?  We don’t believe they should.

How do we know what browsers are being used out there?  We closely monitor the W3Schools Browser Statistics site, which lists all current browsers in use and what percentage of Web surfers use them, updated monthly.  For example, you’ll notice that a total of 47.1% of users use IE, but within that, 26.9% use IE7 and 20.2% user IE6.  44% of users surf with Firefox (Fx).  Chrome, Safari (S) and Opera (O) have a small market share, but they still exist, and Chrome is coming on strong.

So what does this all mean?  At Beacon, we firmly believe in equal opportunity Web browsing:  you should have a perfect browsing experience on sites that we build, no matter what browser or operating system you’re using.  The technical term for it is “cross-browser compliance”.  So we strive to make your Web site look great in all current browsers.  We have servers dedicated to just testing Web sites in all of the browsers.  Our developers and testers can log into these servers, and they have all of the browsers installed on them.  If something doesn’t look right, we’ll fix it.  Yes, it takes extra time, but it’s worth it to Beacon to produce a quality product.

If you have any questions about cross-browser compliance, feel free to leave a comment for me below.

Just another way that Beacon goes the extra mile!


  1. Posted January 17, 2009 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

    First I would like to give you some of my background. I am multimedia designer. I went to a small but very good technical college in Washington State. My main strength is Audio/Video editing, but I also have degrees in Print and Web design, but these are more secondary skills. I am very aware of the issue of making a site cross-browser compliant. I have talked with my teachers about these challenges. Unfortunately for all my studies its still a problem that vexes me. Anyway after some long delay I am finally ready to launch my online portfolio. I am developing on my Mac, so I had no reliable IE version to test on since Mircrosoft stopped supporting IE for Mac. Having done this before I continued developing on my Mac testing in Firefox, knowing full well in the end the site would render well in Firefox and other browsers (i.e. Opera, Safari, etc.) but would be “broken” and need attention to make the site look good in IE.

    So the other day I finally bought my web hosting service, and uploaded it to the servers. Looks fine at home on the Mac and FF. Went to work to test it on IE and to no surprise I have issues (although smaller than in the past) but still some issues.

    So here am now on my Mac, using Google to finally figure out how to crack this nut for good. I used Dreamweaver CS3, and I know in their templates they have special code that make the site render correctly in IE. I have copy and pasted this code into my pages in the correct location, as instructed my teacher long ago, but I know I am not making full use of them.

    So anyway here I am searching for an answer so I can fix what needs to be fixed, so I can finally start promoting my site, so I can finally get my career off the ground. I found your blog and your company, and I am hoping you can help.

    Do have a service that can make my site cross browser compliant? At this point I am willing to pay a professional if I can afford it, just so I can finally take that next big step.

    Is there anyone at your company that can give a young new designer some wisdom and help for this issue.

    Like I said my main area of media design is Audio/Video editing, but I’m no nube to web design, but I just want to finish this site and get it properly posted.

    As you might be able to tell I’m a bit frustrated by this and any help would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank You

  2. Posted March 2, 2009 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    Hi Edgar,

    It sounds like you’ve taken the first step to making your Web site cross-browser compliant: acceptance! You’ve accepted that which we all don’t want to accept: that browsers read plain HTML & CSS differently! It is indeed a challenge for us Web designers & developers, and one that I don’t take lightly.

    To address your specific situation, as you’ve found out, it is very difficult to get your hands on all of the browsers that people use. However, you need these browsers to test your site with all possible scenarios. Fortunately here at Beacon, we have multiple “test” servers that contain all current browsers that are known to exist, including IE 6 & 7, Firefox 2 & 3 (PC and Mac), Safari (PC and Mac), Google Chrome, and Opera. So it’s very easy for us to see how one of our developed sites will look in all of these browsers.

    But what do you do if you don’t have this kind of access? There are plenty of sites out there where you submit your URL to them, and they process it using any browser you choose. After a short processing delay, you’ll see your submitted page as a screenshot in the requested browser(s). One such site is BrowserShots (http://www.browsershots.org/).

    However, seeing the problems is the first step. Fixing it is a whole other challenge. That’s where my team at Beacon steps up to the plate. I encourage you to go to our main Web site Contact Us form(http://www.beacontechnologies.com/contact/) and request assistance on making your site cross-browser compliant.

    Good luck with it, and keep your chin up: IE 8 is just around the corner. :)