Google Chrome has a market share of more than 48%. Internet Explorer has a share of more than 26%. Firefox has a share of about 15%, and Safari (operating system) has a market share of almost 5%. These are the most popular browsers at the moment. To understand your site’s performance, you should be aiming for more than 70% market share of browsers with Flash installed. Progressive enhancement is wise to assume that every visitor to your website will be accessing your site from a web browser with Flash installed.
Hence, it is vital to design a cross browser compatible website to give your users a seamless experience. To build a browser compatible website, you will need to perform cross browser compatibility testing of your websites and web applications to make your website suitable for every latest and legacy browsers.
So here are the 10 Important Tips for building a cross browser compatible website.
1. Setting browser support through code
Web standards tell a browser to display the site correctly, as opposed to guidelines on what elements should be visible (display: none, height: 100vh, position: absolute), which are a good thing for a website. However, developers will frequently encounter browsers that don’t behave as specified. Fortunately, web standards for the latest versions of major browsers are documented in W3C’s HTML5 specification. You can use the sitemap tag in your CSS file to help track whether a browser supports an element rather than relying on a long string of occurrences. Another solution is the good old git grep command, which does more than the browser’s documentation.
3. Keep it simple with CSS
CSS isn’t the most accessible topic for beginning programmers to get their heads around. For these and other reasons, it’s good to start with a simple and pretty page. Avoid huge complex themes that will need serious debugging in the long term. Consider the purpose of your site and what browsers can handle it. Most sites are designed for only one browser, and if it’s not supported, you need to make adjustments. For example, make sure your image sizes scale proportionally, so they don’t overflow on large screens. Minimize text size. Text will automatically wrap in non-standard viewport sizes and sometimes change sizes to account for different screen sizes. Again, you may need to do some design work to account for the measures.
4. Use a responsive design for mobile-friendly websites.
While making a website responsive can save you a lot of headaches if you’re concerned about cross-browser compatibility, it can also give you a better experience if you’re using a responsive design for the web. This is because a responsive design allows you to create a set of different websites, each tailored to the needs of their users. Responsive design may not always be the best choice, however. When you’re choosing between a responsive design and a conventional website, it’s often a matter of ensuring that the two target the same kind of user, rather than a difference in design style or styles.
5. Add captions and subtitles to images to improve accessibility.
Images are tricky for cross-browser compatibility. Depending on the screen size, they will either be too large to display well or not large enough to display at all. To rectify this problem, the open-source Textile framework allows you to convert your images into text automatically. The results are cross-browser compatible, and the first version is free. Other open-source browsers add screen reader support. Take advantage of this by using SpeechBox, a Chrome plugin that mimics the functionality of Screen Readers in Firefox. These are just a few of the many existing options. There are many more to explore, and you should not feel like you have to do this yourself if it’s not necessary.
6. Make sure your site is readable in any font or color scheme.
Some people use different colors on their site depending on the color scheme they’re using. Not only is this bad for compatibility reasons, but it makes your site look much uglier than it does in a theme or plugin that fully supports different color schemes. When it comes to text, avoid using bold, italics, or underlining for emphasis. This makes the text hard to read on smaller monitors and incredibly high-resolution devices like high-definition TVs or widescreen monitors. This is why it’s essential to use sound, readable fonts on your site. I recommend Safari or Google Chrome fonts for most designers. Turn on CSS (Compositing) Many people do not realize that CSS can be used to subtly resize elements to produce a good-looking layout without drastic changes.
7. Restrict links to HTTPS URLs
Cross-browser compatibility often boils down to URL shorteners: if the shortener is “https://,” this is likely to be safe for all browsers. It’s essential to restrict your site to HTTPS URLs, as the history of recent attacks against users should teach us about the risks and the need for decent security. Using “http://” as a login page is no longer recommended. Your users will be prompted with a warning when trying to log in from a non-HTTPS site, and upon doing so, will immediately be offered an HTTPS-based login. Use https://webapps.google.com to log in to your Google account when possible.
8. Choose a browser-safe font
While some websites look great on all major browsers, others are hit or miss depending on the default fonts. Fortunately, various font-safe fonts can help make a website look good across different browsers. Many people tend to minimize their websites to reduce file sizes, including increasing the amount of “bubbles” in their designs. However, this can make it harder for people to see your website and essential information in the design. Luckily, you can do a few things to make sure that it is easily visible while still being simple to read.
9. Test your site on as many browsers as possible
10. Avoid browser quirks modes
Most browsers emulate an older and buggier version of the browser, and allows older websites to work with modern browsers. But you must ensure that your site can load across all browsers to avoid this question. You should ensure that your site is compatible with all popular browsers. After all, a mobile site is more than just a particular feature of your site. It has become a differentiating factor among competitors. Consider integrating your website with all major content management systems. Therefore, if you choose to integrate your website with these CMS platforms, you will deliver highly engaging experiences for the user across devices. The testing feature will allow you to test a mobile app on a tablet or mobile device and show you the app in full-screen or another view, so you know how your site looks on any device at any time.
Browsers generally switch to quirks mode if your page does not include a ‘DOCTYPE’, this is a document type declaration that helps avoid quirks mode across any page that is being accessed.
Building a browser compatible website can be challenging, especially if you don’t have experience with browser compatibility concepts.
Using CSS gradients to tweak an element’s fill color is easy to do in a browser. It’s easy to design a grid with the workload you’re working within the mind. Want to make sure that the color of your watermark will pop? Use a color swatch to select the watermark color, then play around with some colors to find the one that looks best with your design. You can combine CSS style sheets in several ways, but don’t do it unless you’re sure you’re going to keep using CSS for the years ahead in bringing better UX for your users. It’s straightforward to implement a “hidden” element in a CSS file to hide it from the user. Style tags are a handy way to compose CSS, as can add comments to your work. Web development is a competitive field, and as the modern web grows, you must constantly search for ways to improve your user’s experience.
Using LambdaTest For Building Cross Browser Compatible Website
Cross browser testing feature of LambdaTest is one of the best ways to ensure that your website is cross browser compatible across a multitude of real browsers and operating systems. It is one of the best ways to test it with all significant browsers thoroughly and also find out which browsers are misbehaving and cause browsers to crash.
You can run as many browser tests as you need to ensure your site’s mobile compatibility. You can perform manual cross browser testing and automated browser testing (with Selenium and Cypress) on Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS. You can also use LambdaTest to test CSS functionality of your websites and web applications on different browsers and operating systems.
These ten tips are not only applicable to building a Cross-Browser compatible website, but it is also applicable to many other aspects of your web development career, but also can be applied to other work (such as product design or architecture) and be used to quickly improve your client’s site and generate more customer feedback.
Angela Spearman is a journalist at EzineMark who enjoys writing about the latest trending technology and business news.