I try to make this blog work for everyone – that’s why I have the font-size changer in the right hand column, so that everyone can read it despite my somewhat outré choice of white on black. And that’s why I was disturbed to find that Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 doesn’t render it properly.
On the right is what this blog looks like in IE6. Two things are wrong. The white background around the green Adium logo shouldn’t be there – that background is set as transparent. IE6′s forerunner, IE5, gets that one wrong as well. It’s ugly, but I can live with that problem.
The really, really annoying thing as far as I’m concerned is that the right hand column displays below the main column, so most people will never see it. Wrong, wrong, wrong.
It’s telling that only IE6 of the 50-odd browsers I tested using browsershots.org got this wrong. IE6 is old, and home users will probably have upgraded by now (hint), but many are stuck with IE6 at their workplaces, where IT departments like to control desktop configurations and need a very good reason to change versions. And the statistics for this blog show that IE6 makes up only about 2.5% of visitors, but that might be because the site is barely usable in IE6.
This must be an example of IE not following standards. Lots of websites have separate code – effectively separate web pages – for IE browsers so that their pages render the same way on IE as they do on other browsers.
I’m left wondering why IE was so non-compliant for so long. I’d like to find an explanation besides incompetence or hubris in assuming it could ignore standards and force the web to its bidding. To its credit, Microsoft realises it has a problem in this area and the latest IE8 beta makes a real effort to be more standards-compliant. That leads to other problems for sites with IE-specific code, but let’s not go there now.
In the meantime, I’m faced with trying to debug this thing for an old browser on a platform I don’t own, or just giving in and accepting that some people won’t be able to read it even if they want to. Sigh.