Designing A Website With ‘Cross Browser Compatibility’

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What Is Cross Browser Compatibility?



Designing a Website with 'Cross Browser Compatibility'



Let us start this discussion with the actual meaning of ‘Cross Browser Compatibility’ and to keep the meaning as simple as possible, it means the website has to look the same in all the prevalent web browsers. By prevalent browsers I mean names like Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Opera and many more.


Now let’s talk about why Cross browser compatibility is needed. A fact that cannot be ignored is that each of the above mentioned browsers have a unique way of implementing CSS (Cascading Style Sheet), JavaScript and HTML. It is because of the difference in the implementation process sometimes you may find breakage or cosmetic differences in websites viewed in multiple browsers. Secondly, even the display and text properties vary depending on the operating system of the user. Adding to the headache is the fact that it’s not necessary that all the users are using the same version of a respective web browser. Therefore, the perfect answer to these given issues will be ‘Cross Browser Compatibility’.


As a service provider, we due to some obvious reasons cannot force a user to use a particular version of a browser. On the other hand, if your website is not compatible with any common browser it leads to increased bounce rate, which means a user coming to your website is expected only to be disappointed and will leave never to return again. In order to sort this issue out, the designers today are building site on any respective platform and testing the end product on different browsers to ensure the usability.  


That’s the way it should be! A website should perform well irrespective of the given browser environment. In this article, I will be discussing ways to check cross-browser compatibility in terms of web design.  



Focus On The Popular Ones


Popular web browsers include names like Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox and Safari, which nearly occupy 70 percent of the market share. Developers paying attention to their coding with respect to these browsers is a sure fact but, their performance on different operating systems should also be considered.


Comply With Validation Rules


Before introducing any change on a website, a developer should focus on checking the markup validation. Validation rules are a set of principles that a developer should follow while writing the HTML codes of a website, so as to make sure the website functions best in all the browsers. For instance, CSS Validation can be ensured here whereas, HTML Validation can be assured here.     




A brilliant tool that effectively analyzes specific issues with CSS styles and HTML Entities. Plus, Firebug is an essential Firefox add-on, which again benefits a lot to the designers and developers while working on cross browser compatibility. Similarly, we have Firebug Lite that is implemented to bring-in Firebug visual interface and debugging functions to web browsers. This tool is deployed as a client side JavaScript code and is very easy to include in the WebPages.  




The tool allows you to include drop shadows and rounded corners along with the CSS, which will enable the website to work well with all major browsers. This essential tool frees you from the burden of moving across multiple div’s, images and gradients.  


IE Tester


As I mentioned earlier, Internet Explorer is one of the most used browsers that we have today, which makes this tool even more important. What makes dealing with IE tricky is that only a single version is installed on any Windows PC at a time. Developers used to deal with this issue by setting multiple virtual PCs; however, with the help of IE Tester you test the website on a single browser. Using a single browser, a developer will be able to use different tabs from each version.


Checking With 


Another effective platform for cross browser testing. The tool allows you to have a glimpse of what a respective website looks on different browsers. However, you have to be patient as sometimes the site can be slow in terms of loading. 


Different CSS For A Different Browser


Having different style sheets for different browsers can save you from last minute website glitches that developers often face when they are testing any particular website. Making a CSS generic for all browsers can result in last minute mishap, like for instance, a website working fine in IE but the same having problems with Firefox.     


I hope these tips assist you in making sure whether your website is cross browser compatible or not. Questions, doubts, feedback and comments are always welcome, and do share the info too.


Author Profile


Maneet Puri is an Experienced Web Consultant managing Lexolution IT Services, a professional website design firm. Apart from offering robust software solutions to his global clientele, Maneet prefers to indulge in constant research on improving User Experience and Interface. His articles and Blogs are an apt replication of his wide knowledge on web technologies and UI solutions.


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