Call for developers: stop designing for IE!

There's one big truth you learn if you have a little experience in web designing and/or developing: you have to get stuck with Internet Explorer bugs.

The work of web developers is nowadays made of two parts:

  1. Write the website and test it (usually one test is enough for Firefox 1, Firefox 2, Opera, Safari, Camino, Konqueror, etc. on any platform)
  2. Rewrite the CSS and test it again with Internet Explorer 6 and 7
Internet Explorer (any version) is not standard compliant. Yes, we're talking about W3C standards, the ones made with efforts by the members of this worldwide consortium aiming to give a bit of order to the chaos of internet technologies and to improve websites usability. Ironically, Microsoft is a W3C member despite its known attitude not to comply with many international standards.

Now, what's the problem? Simply, because of Microsoft whims in fact of standards (especially for CSS) most web developers have to do the double work. Personally, I'm tired of wasting time (and money) to double-debug my works. And because so many people use (mainly not intentionally) Internet Explorer, noone would pay for a website not viewable with IE.

A solution? If you can decide about your website (read: if it's not committed, or you can talk about it with your boss) do the right thing: do not test and redesign your CSS for IE. Just leave a warning like this one:

Warning: due to a bug in Internet Explorer, this website may look like ugly. To view this page correctly, please use a standard compliant browser. Thanks.

This may seem rough, but it's a bit ironic to smart readers and, above all, it's perfect if you're tired or wasting your worktime for IE. Adding a sponsored link to Firefox (one like "Get Firefox for better browsing", you know what I'm talking about) below the warning makes it even more useful.

Please note that this way you won't loose all your IE users: they should just see the website ugly, as IE naturally renders it, and they should be informed about the cause of that (while being anyway able to use it). Moreover, if they'll start using Firefox (or Opera, or...) they'll experience a better browsing experience (especially people who still use primitive non-tabbed broswers like IE6). And they'll be thankful to you.

Web developers (and their bosses) should keep in mind that if a standard compliant website is not correctly displayed on IE this is not a problem of the website itself: this is a problem of IE. And the users, both geek and inexperienced ones, have the right to know that someone gave them a buggy browser. Hiding this, by building a separate style just for IE, will feed users' ignorance, keeping web development tedious and time wasting.

A live example of this philosophy is Hash'em all!, one of my last works: IE is the only browser in which the central DIVs are not correctly sized and cover all the window from left to right. I'll add some screenshots asap.

You probably don't need a proof that IE brings so many problems for developers, but in case you do here are some references:
Similar initiatives:
UPDATE: I added to Hash'em all! the link to a campaign called "Ugly on IE, not for my fault". If you wish to do the same don't hesitate to add the same image (or another better) linking to this post.


Anonymous said...
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a.n.a said...

good post !!
this is for me to.

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