7 Aug 2003 MichaelCrawford   » (Master)

Help Me Promote Web Browser Standards Compliance

or... !@#$%^&*() Microsoft!

I need your help to encourage visitors to my website to use standards compliant browsers. Read on:

My wife the web designer has created a beautiful new design for my website using valid CSS and XTHML 1.0 strict. You can see her idea for my new homepage and compare it to what I have now, which I designed myself. (She's improved her design based on comments we received, so what she has now actually looks a little better than that.)

The only problem is that she checked it in Internet Explorer 5.0 on Mac OS X, and found that it looked terrible. IE 5 doesn't do CSS very well. It has particular trouble with positioning, in this case the "float" property. The whole page is laid out wrong.

I didn't think that was a big deal, until I checked my web server logs for last month. I used Analog to processor my log file, with the "BROWSERSUM ON" command in the config file to give a browser summary. Note that my site had 67,368 requests, of which 27,439 were requests for pages. This showed that 14% of my visitors were using IE 5 (it looks OK in 5.5 though):

no.:  reqs: pages: browser
---: -----: -----: -------
  1: 36317: 12284: MSIE
   : 27131:  8454:   MSIE/6
   :  9047:  3767:   MSIE/5
   :   134:    60:   MSIE/4
   :     4:     2:   MSIE/3
   :     1:     1:   MSIE/10
  2: 17488:  6155: Mozilla
   : 13824:  4532:   Mozilla/1
   :   109:    38:   Mozilla/0
   :     3:     1:   Mozilla/00000000
  3:  1762:  1762: SKT15SK12001112816018091692007058;18;2;28;130
  4:  1767:  1154: Netscape (compatible)
  5:  2555:   824: Opera
   :  1600:   513:   Opera/7
   :   500:   174:   Opera/6
   :   452:   134:   Opera/5
   :     2:     2:   Opera/3
   :     1:     1:   Opera/4
  6:   650:   608: Googlebot
   :   650:   608:   Googlebot/2
  7:   538:   529: Scooter
   :   538:   529:   Scooter/3
  8:  1030:   445: Netscape
   :   824:   377:   Netscape/4
   :   112:    31:   Netscape/6
   :    51:    20:   Netscape/3
   :     4:     1:   Netscape/7
  9:   444:   442: sitecheck.internetseer.com (For more info see: http:
   :   444:   442:   sitecheck.internetseer.com (For more info see: http://sitecheck
 10:  1106:   370: Galeon
   :  1087:   364:   Galeon/1
 11:   946:   363: Konqueror
   :   900:   351:   Konqueror/3
   :    46:    12:   Konqueror/2

Yes, your eyes do not decieve you - there are still people visiting my site who use IE or Netscape 4, and even 3!

Bonita googled high and low looking for a workaround, and found many other web designers asking the same question, but no solution was to be found. She and I have agreed that we don't want to lay out my site using tables (as my original site does now) but to use CSS for all the presentation markup. I've been careful to support old web browsers on my site for a couple of years since compliant browsers have become readily available, and I feel it's time to move on.

I have made the decision that my website isn't going to support such old, uncompliant browsers as IE 5 and Netscape 4 (I checked, and Netscape 4.7 renders the page about the same way that IE 5 does).

Instead, I'm going to place a link on each of the most popular pages of my site that will take the reader to a page that explains that my site is designed using current W3C standards recommendations, and that the reader is going to need a standards-complient browser to view the site. I'm going to specifically say that Explorer 5.0 and Netscape 4 won't work.

Here's where you can help me: Bonita searched all over the W3C's website looking for an article that would explain what W3C standards compliance means when it comes to browsers, and why users of browser software should care. She wants to find an article that will convince readers to upgrade their broken old browsers. You may find this surprising, but she couldn't find one.

Perhaps one of you know of such an article anywhere on the web, and could tell me the URL? You can post it in your diary, so we'll all see it in the recentlog, or you can email it to crawford@goingware.com

Thanks for your help.

(PS. I thought diablo3d's joke was so funny I emailed it to Bonita.)

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