Browser Incompatibility

A friend was asking me about web developing coming from a design background and what limitations you have to face. They had done a lovely design using font X which only for a specific platform and wanted to know why I couldn't put it on the website in the same format. I worded a lengthy (for me) reply about the issue and thought someone else might find it helpful.

In regards to the typeface a particular font will only appear in a readers browser if they have that font installed on their computer. A prime example is Helvetica which is only available to Mac users. To get around this, the best idea is to use common fonts and group them together by similarities across different platforms i.e. Windows, Mac,Linux etc. Because of this restriction you are limited to what fonts you can use for text which is why typeface will appear different.

When developing a website you must remember that though you might have a Mac and your browser is Safari that doesn't mean that you end user(reader) has got the same set-up and that is were lies some restrictions in formatting. Browser incompatibility and display differences really comes from:

  • Different Browsers
  • Different Browser Versions
  • Different Computer Types
  • Different Screen Sizes
  • Different Font Sizes

Because of this you really want to make sure you have access to thefollowing browsers on the follow platforms:

Platforms:
Windows, Mac, Linux (though I tend to worry least about Linux)

Browsers:Internet Explorer, version 6,7
FireFox, version 1.5 upwards
Opera, version 8 upwards
Safari, version 2 upwards

Now before anyone says anything about my site not being 100% compatible, I don't really care. Not to be harsh, but I don't have the time to make sure everyone in every format can readthis. I presume that if you are reading my site you are a tech head and have access to at least one descent browser/platform combo.


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