Monday, May 15, 2006

Checking Your Blog's Appearance Redux

Blog Tips BasilThis topic has been covered before, but I think it needs repeating.

Two Browsers Are Better Than One

Some time ago, we talked about the need to check out your site in multiple browsers. Some of you do check your blog in more than one browser, but so many of you don't. And it shows.

How does it show? Well, think about it for a second.

How many times have you gone to a blog and it just didn't look right? It happens to me about once a day. Sometimes more.

Wonder why that happens? Simple. The blog owner isn't checking out the site in multiple browsers.

Here's the deal. You probably use Internet Explorer. Most people do. According to W3C Schools, 62.3% use IE 5 (4.5%), 6 (56.7%), or 7 (1.1%).

But a large number prefer to use Firefox (25.7%). And even others use the Mozilla Suite (2.3%), Netscape (0.3%), and others (1.5%) such as Safari, Konqueror, Opera, and such.

Get To It Already!

It goes without saying (although we're going to say it anyway) that a blogger checks out his (or her, but we're going to say 'his' from here on out) blog after he posts something.

But most just use the browser they normally use themselves.

That is, if they use IE, they look at their blog in IE and only in IE. If they use Firefox, they look at their blog in Firefox and only in Firefox.

Bad idea.

Because despite IE's and Firefox's ability to follow standards, they both treat Website code slightly differently. And that can cause a problem.

Sometimes something looks just fine in IE, but looks all screwed up in Firefox. And sometimes something looks just fine in Firefox, but looks all screwed up in IE. Not always, but sometimes. And when that sometimes happens, it can really cause a headache.

So, to keep that from happening, always use both IE and Firefox to check out your blog. At a minimum.

But I Don't Want To Use Two Browsers

Last time, I got some emails saying they didn't want to use two browsers. Well, then don't. But you run the risk of having display issues.

Quite honestly, you have a decision to make: You either care how your blog looks to your visitors ... or you don't.

If you care, you need to know how it looks in different browsers. And that means you either need two browsers (IE and Firefox) on your computer.

Or you need two computers, one with IE and one with Firefox. (Hint: Two browsers on one computer is a heckuva lot cheaper.)

Or you need a friend that has the browser you don't have.

Or you need a service that checks this for you. (Hint: doing it yourself is cheaper.)

But that's only if you care.

When To Check

Should you always check in two browsers? Well, you should check under certain circumstances.

You should ALWAYS check in two browsers whenever you make a change to the style of your blog or blog template. For instance, when you add something to the sidebar. Or when you change the colors. Or change the layout. Or make any major change.

Always.

Now, you should PROBABLY check your blog in two browsers when you post something that has other-than-text in it. Like a picture. Or a Flash object. Or a YouTube item. Or anything that's not text.

Probably.

Summary

Simply put, it's a good idea to check your blog in two browsers, so you know how your visitors see it. That way, if something suddenly changes, you can undo it and try again before the problem gets worse and worse and worse.

Why do I strongly believe this? The same way I learned fire was hot. I've been burned before.

6 comments:

  1. Excellent post. I had never thought of that before and immediately checked with another browser to see what my site looked like in it.

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  2. the exact same thing happened at my site. Those lil fire fox weenies kept complaining so I googled about it and IE and firefox sees DIV tags...differently or something. So I made a template based on tables rather than div css...tag..things... and they say they can see it ok now. So tables are always a safe route to go I guess

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  3. You need to do it periodically if you have any sidebar items that are beyond your control, like the alliance blogroll for instance. Some of the browsers go funky if a link gets too long or an image is too wide, or well, whatever it is.

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  4. LittleOrangeFox:
    One the one hand, tables are indeed handled pretty much the same by all browsers.

    The downside of tables is that none of the content of a table will display until the entire table has loaded. That is, if you have something anywhere in your table that takes a while to load (like a 3rd-party blogroll or something), nothing in that table displays until it all loads. Which could lead to no content showing for a however long it takes the blogroll to process.

    Tommy:
    Excellent point! And an excellent example.

    ReplyDelete
  5. thats why my blogrolls are on a seperate page than my blog >=) I outsourced them to India(I mean boomseed) The accent is different but the blog rolls have a nice home

    ReplyDelete

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