Apple Archive

Best Viewed In

- 2002.08.23

For a long time, I've noticed that some people put banners on their sites saying something like "Best viewed in Internet Explorer" or "Best viewed in Netscape." I have also come across sites that just refuse to work in one or the other browser, some that refuse to load properly in either browser, and a couple that refuse to load on a Mac at all.

The first impression that I get from the "best viewed in" sites is that they are too lazy to check and make sure that their site loads in other browsers (it takes somewhere around 5 minutes to install Netscape and about 30 seconds to install Internet Explorer, unless you're on OS X, in which case IE is already there). Then I figure, if they're too lazy to do that, are they too lazy to make sure their information is accurate and up-to-date? Are they too lazy to update their site at all?

Sorry, Wrong Browser

Then there are the sites that don't work on one or the other browser. These are a pain, because if you want to use the site, you have to have a different browser installed. In order to view the sites I like to look at every morning, I need two browsers in OS 9, and one of the sites looks horrible in OS X (even though it does work) in OmniWeb. So it means having two browsers open, each with a different set of bookmarks. It makes life more complicated than it should be.

The worst sites are those that just look awful no matter what browser you use. Often this is the site designer's fault - sites should have an easy way to navigate, an easy way to view past content, and a font big enough so that you can read it easily. It is surprising how many sites fail to meet these requirements.

Not on a Mac

What about sites that don't work on the Mac no matter what browser you use? There aren't very many of them (I only remember coming across two, one of which I can't remember the address, the other of which seems to be down at the moment), but when you do find one, it is very annoying. What it relies on in Windows, I don't know, but they load perfectly there - but try it on a Mac, and the page either doesn't load at all or is completely unreadable.

I really do expect a webmaster to test his or her site on both Mac and PC-- and in both major browsers (Netscape and IE) - to make sure that it works fine and looks good in each. If a Mac or a PC isn't available for testing, then the webmaster should ask friends if they can test it for them. As a last resort, a link should be placed on the site that instructs anyone having problems with the site to contact the webmaster.

It seems essential these days that you have more than one browser installed on your computer. The reason for this is sites where the webmasters don't want to spend the time making sure their site works in all browsers. It shouldn't be like that. If they spend the extra time, they would probably get more hits from people using alternative browsers, and the Web would be much easier to navigate. Viewable With Any Browser


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