I recently had a interesting conversation with a friend of mine. He develops web sites and we were talking about compatibility. Or, to better put it, how many situations a developer should consider when testing a new site. We started counting browser versions, and then we considered all the possible screen resolutions. After that, we added tablets and smartphones with related browser mobile versions.
We ended up with a long list and we were quite bewildered. If you stop for a moment and think about it, developing a new site, ensuring full compatibility, is a complete and utter madness.
I tried to shorten the long list of possible situation and the first thing that came to my mind was Internet Explorer, which, we know, is the most problematic browser. My friend said that we could remove IE7 from the list. I was not so sure. Then we made a bet: let's see how many 'major' web site do support IE7.
It has been a dirty job, but someone had to do it. And I did.
I tested a lot of corporate web sites using Internet Explorer 7 in a Windows Xp environment with a 1280x1024 screen resolution. However I would like to show only the following sites, that might be worth mentioning:
Would you like to see the results? Ok! Follow me.
I will explain the findings, following a strict alphabetical order because this is not a worst web site compatibility list.
Please note that the test has been carried out on a specific pc in the mentioned environment. The results are therefore not to be taken as absolute, but as a statistic. Other environments might behave in a completely different way.
BBCwww.BBC.co.uk is a news web site. Mainly the site has a good compatibility, except the bottom menu, which in some pages doesn't show correctly:
Moreover, content in some news boxes is cut and unreadable.
HPHP site has a nice centered stage where products are displayed like in many other commercial site. But, just after that, towards the bottom of the page...
|HP Home page|
SonySony web site has been a disaster. When viewed with IE7, everything was pushed on the left hand side, with the following effect:
NokiaNokia site is quite good. Unfortunately in the support home page, a bottom menu is cut:
|Nokia bottom menu|
The overall rendering of the pages is good and most of the sites I tested are fully browsable.
The above is true especially for big companies. Smaller firms have more problems, but I believe that it is quite understandable.
However, the results are not very encouraging. When we deal with web site development, we apparently still need to consider IE7 full compatibility. We can decide to charge more for that, or include it in our first offer. In any case, we need to consider the extra costs for all the needed fallbacks, and we should be ready for a lot more work.
What is your experience on the matter is a great deal to me. Please share your thoughts and experience!