Understanding Cross Browser Compatibility in Website Design

Cross Browser compatibility is the bane of website designers!

You must be aware that there are numerous browsers used by people for surfing the internet. Some of the commonly used browsers are Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari, Opera, Netscape, and so on. Now, if you observe carefully, you will find that some websites look quite different in different web browsers.

Let’s understand the technicality behind this phenomenon. Each browser parses a web code in a different way. A good web design aims to give a uniform look to the website, viewed from any web browser. Thus, a good website should be viewable in its full functionality on any web browser. This is called cross-browser compatibility.

Now, if you are wondering how you can ensure that your website is cross-compatible, follow these simple rules:

  1. Test with 3 browsers

    Download at least three different browsers, Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox and any other browser. Then test your website in all the three web browsers to check the cross browser compatibility. The reason for pre-considering Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox is the fact that these two are the most widely used web browsers in the world. So, it is important that your website is rendered perfectly when viewed on these browsers. While your website is in the process of development, it is recommended to run several cross browser tests to check its appearance and also other coding errors that might crop up in the process.

  2. Validate your HTML code

    Ensure that your code is W3C validated. W3C standard helps you maintain cross browser compatibility. You can validate your HTML code online at http://validator.w3.org/. Also you can validate your CSS code at http://jigsaw.w3.org/css-validator/. Note that these validation services are free of cost.

  3. Choose HTML editor wisely

    Dreamweaver is the best and most widely used editor when it comes to maintaining cross browser compatibility. However, you will need to avoid the use of layers. Do not use FrontPage, as it is an editor which specifically uses code for Internet Explorer. Sites coded on FrontPage are not always likely to be cross browser compatible, as there are several features in the editor which are not compatible in other browsers.

No website design can be 100% cross browser compatible, as the appearance may differ across various browsers. However, following the above mentioned steps can help you create a website that works well in the most common web browsers.

If there is one thing every web designer can agree upon, it’s that cross browser compatibility is the bane of website design!

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Author: Chris Burns

Chris Burns writes for Website Design 411, a web design and web application provider with competencies development in all browser types.

This entry was posted on Friday, August 19th, 2011 at 4:56 pm and modified by WebMaster View on Saturday, March 22nd, 2014 at 1:28 pm. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

Comments : 4

  1. Very good, informative & basic concept that I got from your writing.

    Iftekhar Hossain

  2. Nicely done. I was also expecting mention of mobile browsers also and how development should cover these. Please let me know when you do this.

    Songo Eregoba

  3. Browser compatibility is the biggest issue that every web programmer encounters during the final phase of developments. Thanks for sharing these tips.


  4. Excellent post Chris.It’s actually a bad thing for designers.

    The Invisible Art

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