Template Themes and Browser Compatibility



BrowsersThe past week or two I have been on a template theme kick if you haven’t noticed. What started out as one of those just for the heck of it changes has turned into a rather large and time-consuming process. I am starting to ask myself if I should have messed with this or not.

Recently I had an opportunity to do some browsing from a computer that had Internet Explorer 8. I know what you are thinking. What the heck am I doing with that thing and how exciting can it be. Well every now and then when the opportunity presents itself I like to do a little testing with older browsers and technology. You would be surprised how different a website will display from one browser to the next, the version being used, and even when different monitor resolution settings are involved.

Although I wasn’t expecting perfect results with older browsers I was a little surprised how both the main part of this site and this blog looked in Internet Explorer 8. Then, I started playing with different monitor resolution settings, and I saw pretty much the same results. Some resolution settings looked great. Others were OK, and some made the site look flat out ugly. The good news is there were a lot of other sites that I tested in the process that looked uglier than mine.

So I started thinking about going through all the css code to see if I could tweak things a little to display better in older browsers and other resolutions. I haven’t decided if I want to go through all the additional work or not yet. A voice in my head is saying yes do it, and another voice is saying no way you have better things to waste your time on. It’s like I have a devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other whispering in my ears.

How do you design?
Do you design with a newer browser and hope that most people don’t use older browsers? Or, do you design with an older browser and hope that it will display decent in newer browsers? Maybe you don’t design at all and assume or hope that the template theme design you pick looks good in most of them. What about all the different resolutions? Do you test them too, and where do you draw the line?

A few years back a website could easily look much different in one browser to the next. They seem to be more compatible with each new release, but every now and then I still find something that just won’t line up in one browser. It used to be that Internet Explorer seemed to cause the most problems, but ever since Internet Explorer 9 came out a lot of display issues are not so apparent.

I read about browser statistics whenever some big site posts the numbers, but I wonder exactly where they are getting their stats from. Are they based on certain sites? Are they stats from certain countries, or global stats? They usually don’t specify the details.

Even though their stats and numbers are interesting and a bit helpful I still prefer to use my own numbers. Although a full year of stats can be helpful in the case of browsers I want to see more recent numbers. People may not be using the same browser version today that they were using a year ago. So I am looking at fresh data from within the last month or so only.

My visitors top 6 browsers last 30 days:

1. Firefox
2. Chrome
3. Internet Explorer
4. Safari
5. Opera
6. Android Browser
42.04%
34.34%
11.28%
6.90%
2.46%
1.16%

Others were small and not worth mentioning.

Top 6 Browsers
Top 6 Firefox versions last 30 days:

1. Firefox 9.0.1
2. Firefox 10.0
3. Firefox 8.01
4. Firefox 10.0.1
5. Firefox 3.6.25
6. Firefox 8.0
53.17%
16.77%
4.17%
3.10%
3.01%
2.42%

Top 6 Chrome versions last 30 days:

1. Chrome 16.0.912.77
2. Chrome 16.0.912.75
3. Chrome 16.0.912.63
4. Chrome 17.0.963.46
5. Chrome 15.0.874.106
6. Chrome 15.0.874.121
47.14%
30.12%
6.34%
6.34%
1.07%
0.93%

Top 4 Internet Explorer versions last 30 days:

1. Internet Explorer 8.0
2. Internet Explorer 9.0
3. Internet Explorer 7.0
4. Internet Explorer 6.0
47.95%
43.65%
6.72%
1.68%

Overview:
Based on this information I get more visitors that use Firefox and Chrome than almost all other browsers combined. Probably because I write about technology, browsers, and technology things.

People still visit my site with Internet Explorer 6 and 7, but barely.

I actually had more visitors that use Internet Explorer 8, than 9 within the past 30 days.
Monitor Resolution:
Monitor resolution stats are another story. I wrote in: Ads Above the Fold Don’t Get Hit by the Google Hammer the top 10 visitors use these screen resolutions:
1. 1366×768
2. 1280×800
3. 1024×768
4. 1280×1024
5. 1920×1080
6. 1440×900
7. 1680×1050
8. 1600×900
9. 1920×1200
10. 1360×768

Browser Resolution
What to do:
Since I have noticed a few display errors with Internet Explorer 8 and certain resolution settings I am at a toss up whether I should spend anymore time tweaking for those visitors. Since the total Internet Explorer visits are 11.28% and 47.95% of those use Internet Explorer 8 it would be more like 11.28% divided by 47.95%, or roughly half of the 11.28%. The way I see it about 5-6% of visits the past month use Internet Explorer 8.

As much as I would like to mess with the display issues for older browsers I think I have already spent way too much time on this. Maybe I’ll save it for a day when I have nothing better to do, or do a little tweaking and testing in my spare time.

The professional template theme designers must have their work cut out for them is all I can say with all the different possibilities.

What do you do?
Do you perform tests in other browsers and resolution settings or if it looks good in the browser and monitor you use than who cares about everyone else?

 

About: Jeremy LeSarge - AKA: Ray (191 Posts)

I am the site owner and administrator of DialMe.com. I provide help and tips for Boonex Dolphin on the main part of this website where you will also find an assortment of other resources. Here, on the blog I write about a variety of topics surrounding WordPress, technology, social media/networking, SEO, and webmaster resources.