Do you insist that people chuck their inferior browsers and download your
favorite before viewing your pages? Do you think that if their software
can't parse your own preferred idiosyncratic, non-standard version of
HTML, they should get a real browser? Well, in my humble opinion, you
Get a Real Web Site!
Why? When you tell people to "get a real browser", you're assuming a lot of
- That they have control over which browser they use. Most
Web users subscribe to Internet services where they log into a remote
computer and can only use what is available there. Think of the 10+ million
people on AOL, for instance.
- That they can download the browser. How do you know the
viewer isn't using a 14.4 modem? What about space limitations on their hard
drive or in their online account? Also, some services limit download sizes,
or charge extra for large downloads.
- That the browser will run on their system. Computers
browsing the Web may be running MacOS, MS-DOS, one of the many flavors of
Windows, FreeBSD, Linux, SunOS, Solaris, OS/2... and those are just some of the
popular operating systems. Is your browser going to run on all of
And let's not forget hardware-- is it going to run well on a 286? With a
monochrome monitor? With only keyboard control?
- That they are capable of using the browser. For instance,
a graphical browser isn't going to do a heck of a lot of good for a blind
person. (Yes, there are quite a few blind people on the net.)
- That they want to go through the hassle of installing and
learning a new browser. They'll have to sit through the install,
set all their preferences, get used to a new interface, and sometimes learn
a new set of terms. This takes time they may not want to spend.
- That they are so dissatisfied with their current browser that they
will be ready and willing to abandon it in favor of yours. The viewer
may actually want to be using a browser that you consider uncool. Some want to
avoid intrusive advertising. Some choose not to have Java or cookies for
security reasons. Some use text browsers for quicker download times. None
of these people is going to give up their favorite browser just because
you tell them to.
- That seeing your pages is worth all this hassle. You're
asking a lot of the viewer. Will they feel sufficiently rewarded?
Not convinced yet?
The Any Browser Campaign has
a substantial list of links to more arguments in favor of accessibility. (I
particularly recommend "This page
is optimized for..." for the business perspective, and Bobby for handicapped-accessibility