A Bit About Cross-Browser Compatibility

Are you a webmaster? If so, like others, you might be troubled by the issue of cross-browser compatibility on your websites. In case you’re not familiar, cross-browser compatibility refers to the correct (identical) display of a website across all web browsers.

Let me ask you, which browser do you use to browse the internet? I’m sure you’ll say Firefox or Opera. However, most ordinary users, around 70-75%, would unanimously choose Internet Explorer.

To the deep dismay of many, there are numerous websites on the internet optimized for a specific browser. While they display correctly in one browser (like IE), they may look broken in others: formatting gets messed up, images scatter, menu items shift, lines break into separate segments, etc. It’s a sight best avoided.

Some websites even include a header noting, “This site works correctly only in Internet Explorer,” followed by a lengthy list of requirements like “enable cookies,” “enable JavaScript support,” “set a specific screen resolution,” and so on. How a user reacts to this is unknown, but one thing is certain: they are always right, as they are your client.


You’ll need to work hard on your site. Invest time in various hacks and fixes for different browsers. A cross-browser compatible site means more visitors. Here are some tips on how to tackle the issue of “broken” sites.

Step One: Analyzing Your Website

You should have several major browsers installed on your computer: Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Google Chrome, and Safari. Additionally, you’ll need multiple versions of Internet Explorer, which you can manage with the program IETester. This setup will help you test your site during the coding process and when addressing compatibility issues.

Step Two: Finding Errors in the Code

After identifying issues on your site, you need to find the errors in the code responsible for the problematic elements. A useful tool for this is the Firebug plugin for Firefox, which helps you locate the relevant code sections with ease. However, Firebug isn’t perfect, and there might still be additional errors after using it. I also recommend using the W3C Validator. While your site doesn’t have to be completely valid, validation errors can indicate problematic design elements.

Step Three: Fixing the Errors in the Code

First, understand the cause of the error or the browser’s incorrect rendering. Sometimes you may need to use CSS hacks to solve cross-browser issues, but avoid excessive use of hacks. Instead, use HTML elements that display consistently across all required browsers.

The Key Point

Work on this only if you have the necessary skills. If you’re not familiar with basic HTML, don’t strain yourself or others. Either let it go or seek help from a specialist. And there you have it, in brief.