Oh the joy of testing browsers when designing web pages! Every browser has idiosyncrasies. It’s enough to drive a web designer crazy. There are three main shells that web browsers are built on, and even within them, there are nuances. The three are (with examples making up the five main browsers): Trident shells (Internet Explorer); Gecko-based shells (Firefox); and WebKit-based shells (Chrome, Safari). A minor one: Presto (Opera) is used by Nintendo for the Wii and DS(i) consoles. Unfortunately, all of these shells can combine with one another to create a whole slew of new issues. (For the technical people: there are currently 56 desktop browsers for Windows and 37 browsers for Mac and Linux desktop computers.)

However, the five listed above are the ones I work with on a daily basis. Of the five, Firefox and IE give me the most fits. (I only say it this way because the other three: Chrome, Safari and Opera; work fairly seamlessly together.) The issue with Firefox and IE is that they DON’T work together. So, if I get something to look right on Firefox, it won’t necessarily work right on IE.

Both Firefox and IE tend to have spacing issues, but in different places. Originally, to combat this issue, I used separate html files to make things work, but that gets a little complex after awhile, especially when you are maintaining nearly 100 pages at a time.

I ended up figuring out a compromise that works relatively well with all browsers and then creating two separate dummy pages: one for boutiques and one for collections. After making these dummy pages, for each subsequent boutique/collection page I make, I modify the html and css pages attached to that page. (For example: icon.html’s css files are different than CYbrary.html’s css files.). These dummy pages have two added benefits: all pages align together correctly; and I don’t feel like I’m constantly re-inventing pages.

My aim with the pages is that you see the same page no matter what browser you are using, (and I could add “device” here as well, but that’s another blog post). As it is, Firefox definitely throws a monkey wrench in with the spacing issue at the bottom of each page. On the other hand, Internet Explorer 10 has made tremendous strides and I strongly recommend all readers to download and use that version, although Internet Explorer 8 and above work fine using our site. I use to love Firefox of all the browsers, but when seamless integrations are needed, and only one browser seems to play naughty, it gets a little frustrating. It seems Firefox likes to re-invent the wheel nearly every release. I have taken to following mostly what the library’s computers are using (I know that’s cheating a little bit,) and working from there.

The most important aspect of being able to view our pages accurately is, in fact, keeping the browsers you use up-to-date. Not only is this good practice, but updates also include bug fixes and security enhancements.