Cross-Browser Compatibility In Web Design: A Few Suggestions

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

When it comes to accessing the Internet, you have many options. The four most popular browsers are Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer, and Safari, but you can choose from many additional browsers as well. Choice is great for users who can select the browser that works best for their needs and preferences. It does, however, present some challenges for web design.

In particular, you cannot just design for one browser, because your website might look different once a user opens it in a different browser. Designing a website that works for all of your potential website visitors means designing a site that works across multiple browsers. Called cross-browser compatibility, this feature requires thoughtful web design and development. Here are a few suggestions for making your site compatible with whatever browser you users choose.

Keep your code simple.

Simplicity in coding is a fundamental principle no matter what type of website you design. Streamlining your code creates a faster website with fewer bugs. Plus, it makes it easier to fix the code or transfer the website somewhere else if necessary.

When it comes to cross-browser compatibility, simple code is particularly important. It won’t, by itself, guarantee a beautiful and functional site across all browsers. However, simplified code will be easier for browsers to render, which can reduce the number of problems you encounter when you open your website in different browsers.

In addition, simple code will be easier to tweak when you need to make it compatible for new browsers. Simplicity does not mean leaving out important features. It does mean using only as much code as necessary to accomplish your goals for your website. Remove extraneous coding and create a streamlined product that can easily be adjusted for compatibility with any browser.

Include DOCTYPE in your coding.

DOCTYPE is an instruction at the beginning of your code that tells browsers which language you used to write your code. Without the DOCTYPE instruction, browsers will revert to their “quirks mode” of reading the code, which is a method browsers use to make old web design compatible with modern browsers.

When browsers have to use “quirk mode” or guess as to which coding language you used, they often render your website in a different, and less desirable way, than you intended. In order to avoid those problems, and maximize cross-browser compatibility for your site, DOCTYPE is an important element to add to your website development.

Utilize CSS resets.

One of the differences among browsers is the default rules they use for CSS (the rules that determine how the coding is displayed). If you do not add the proper default rules to your website, your web design may not display properly on the browser.

At the same time, adding the defaults for each browser to every CSS rule for your website is time consuming. If you want to ensure that your CSS rules will display properly across all browsers, you can create CSS reset style sheets for each browser.

If you add these sheets to the beginning of your CSS style sheets, the browsers can more easily identify their style sheet and implement the appropriate default values throughout automatically. That way, your website displays properly on any browser.

Validate your code.

Cross-browser compatibility is easier to achieve if your code is strong and bug-free to begin with. In order to ensure the quality of your code, consider validating your code before you add it to your site.

There are a number of code validators that you can use. However, if you use a professional web design and development company, they will automatically provide you with the clean, validated code you need. That can make it easier for your web pages to function smoothly across any browser your visitors use to access your website.

Make sure to test your website across browsers.

While you can take steps to improve the cross-browser compatibility of your website, you will not know for sure how it will perform until you test your website across browsers. This testing, therefore, is an important step in identifying any potential compatibility issues and addressing them before your website goes live.

In order to successfully test the compatibility of your website across browsers, you can choose from among a variety of testing tools. Once you identify potential issues, you can take steps to rectify those issues and ensure that when your website goes live, it functions smoothly and seamlessly no matter what browser your visitors use.

Use a web design and development company that accounts for compatibility.

The best way to ensure that your website works across browsers is to use a web design and development company that takes this compatibility into account when developing your website. The right company will create coding that is simple, that includes the right DOCTYPE, that validates the code, that tests the website across browsers, that fixes bugs that crop up, and that takes other steps to ensure that your site works well in any browser.

If you want to enjoy cross-browser compatibility for your website, look for a reliable and experienced company that can help you present a consistent and appealing message to your visitors, no matter how they choose to visit your website.

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Posted in: Web Design, Web Development

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