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§ Web standards · Browsers · Design thinking

The new issue of Digital Web mag sees Peter-Paul Koch extolling the fine virtues of graceful degradation. That is the honourable action of building web sites that work on all browsers without worrying if they are pixel perfect. With care, attention & experience this is not particularly difficult, provided one ‘accepts the unpredictability that rules the user interface of the web’. And therein lies the crux.

The hardest bit to creating flexible designs and code is persuading (or, if you’re lucky, educating) bosses, clients and too often designers, to adopt the philosophy that you will never know how the end user will [want to/be able to] view your web site.

† Emphasis on “work”. A web site works when the entire text is legible, the page content is ordered logically, the site is navigable and its core functionality functions.

And to help you get to grips with IE6/Win, there’s a very useful article from Seattle explaining the CSS Enhancements in Internet Explorer 6. It documents most of the new stuff including the !DOCTYPE switch, how the <body> element now obtains size from its content and the <html> element represents the canvas, the added support of auto to the margin and width properties and stricter style sheet parsing (why your old style sheets might not now work e.g. length values must specify a unit type identifier).


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