Testing the cross-browser compatibility of your website is something each website owner should do. Although you have your own preferred browser, your website visitors may not be using the same web browser as you.
If you are redesigning an existing website, you could look at the website stats for your website and see which browsers (and operating systems) the past visitors have been using. Understand, this is not a recommendation to ignore the less frequently used browsers of your visitors, but an exercise to show you what browser your website visitors are using.
For a new website, if you have done your target audience research then you would have a list of the most common browsers your website visitors would be using.
A safe policy to have is that each web page is viewable in as many browers possible.
Is Your Site Cross-Browser Compatible?
Definition of cross-browser compatible:
- Cross-browser compatible
- Compatible with all major browsers available
Major browsers available:
- Internet Explorer
- Safari Note: Safari is now available for Windows and Mac computers
- Text based browsers for Lynx operating system or the visually impaired. Lynx Viewer is available to test your web pages.
- JAWS - screen reader for the visually impaired.
How does your website look in any of the browsers listed above? Not everyone is using Internet Explorer to surf the Internet these days.
How do I Make My Site Cross-Browser Compatible?
To create a cross-browser compatible website:
- Use only standard compliant coding.
- Don't use browser
specific (proprietory) HTML tags and features.
- These only work in the browser they were created for and may even break your web page when viewed in another browser.
- Validate your web pages.
Some have the "You can't please everyone" attitude. Yes, your site will look different in each browser because each one interprets the coding differently. The goal with cross-browser compatibility is to make your site viewable in the major browsers available and have the pages render correctly. One thing that will drive visitors away is a site that doesn't work in their chosen browser.