You've created what you thought was the perfect Web page for your business. Then you get a call from your friend, Jim, who just looked at it on a different, perhaps less tolerant browser from what you used to "check" your page.
He asks: "Who designed this page?" You can tell from his tone that something's wrong. So you tell him, "Hey, it's just a first draft."
He then proceeds to tell you what's wrong with it. You don't understand why it doesn't look right to him because it looked fine to you? Unfortunately, unlike the print media, when you create a page on the Web sometimes what you see may not necessarily be what others get.
As many Web browser software companies "upgrade" their software, Web pages containing previously unnoticeable bugs may no longer render properly (or at least as they did before). Also, with more public libraries offering Web access with (text-only) "dumb" terminals, these terminals may render graphically dependent Web pages as merely a blank slate.
To be fair, the fault is neither with that of the "dumb" terminal nor with the upgraded browser software. Typically, it is really with how such pages were written initially.
Even at the largest of corporations, pages are often written by rookie Web (HTML) "programmers" or by in-house do-it-your-selfers. And many of these non-validated Web pages, when viewed through newer, more-compliant and less-forgiving browser versions, may now reveal their imperfections, previously hidden. All it may take is one invalid HTML code, or a missing or ill-placed quotation mark or two within the code.
And, Web site owners may be the last to know that their page might be looking less-than-spiffy to others. Contrary to popular belief, Web site owners cannot necessarily tell that a bug exists within their page simply by looking at the page through their Web browser of choice. A "buggy" page may render fine on one, two, three, or even four browsers, but then may cough, look ill, or simply die when rendered on the next four browsers.
Attempting to debug one's Web page(s) by viewing it through one or two browsers, therefore, is like trying to determine if someone has cancer merely by looking at them. If bugs do exist on your page (whether you see them or not), others on other operating systems and/or browsers may end up seeing your page's warts or in extreme cases, not seeing your page at all.
A Web site owner, therefore, might be losing a significant portion of the Web viewing audience and not even know it. Worse, pages such as this could not only be turning off viewers to one's site, but also (on a company Web site) could be turning viewers off to one's company.
How does a Web site owner protect against this possibility? Below are four actions one can take to ensure one's page will render properly to the widest possible audience:
Although these four actions should ensure that your pages are viewable in the best light to the widest possible audience, also, if you have the opportunity, view your pages on other's systems. You may find you will want to change portions of your page to make it more universally appealing. If nothing else, you'll be amazed at how differently your page(s) may appear on other's systems, browsers, and settings.
The author, Stephen Traub, owner of Web Page Re<p>air, can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com, or by phone at 978-462-4347. Mr. Traub has a B.A. from Harvard University cum laude in Social Science, and is a member of The HTML Writers Guild.
We'd like to help you get the most from your Web page(s). If that's what you want as well, contact me, Stephen Traub at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you're undecided, see my articles, "Widen Your Web Site's Audience", and "Designing for Multiple Browsers Without Being Bland". Or see my background information or comments from those we've helped, then contact me. I guarantee that you will be satisfied with the results.
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Web Page Re<p>air (Front Page)
Widen Your Web Site's Audience
Design Multi-Browser Pages w/o Being Bland
On-Line Tools You Can Use
Free Web/Internet Software
Comments From Those We've Helped
Resumé of Stephen Traub
Mispelled Misspelled Word of the Week
Java(Script) and GIF Animation Test Page
http://www.shore.net/~straub/wysinwog.htm, was last updated March 3, 1998.