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(Much of this content is related to Yahoo!'s Graded Browser Support.)
In modern web development, we must support all browsers. Choosing to exclude a segment of users is inappropriate and unnecessary.
Support does not mean that everybody sees the same thing. Expecting two users using different browser software to have an identical experience fails to embrace or acknowledge the essence of the Web. In fact, requiring the same experience for all users creates an artificial barrier to participation. Availability and accessibility of content is be our key priority.
Appropriate support allows every user to consume as much visual and interactive richness as their environment can support. This approach—commonly referred to as progressive enhancement—builds a rich experience on top of an accessible core, without compromising that core.
According to the EPA's Public Web Server Statistics (Jan 2010), most page requests (~45%) to the Agency's Web server are received from visitors using Internet Explorer, versions 6 and up. However, there are many people using Firefox, Chrome and Safari. As a government agency, the EPA must accommodate the broadest audience possible. It is important to design and test web pages and applications in as many browsers as possible.
Beyond browser and platform discrepancies, Federal Agencies such as the US EPA must comply with Section 508 Accessibility standards. Web pages must comply with these requirements.
With these issues in mind, here are some tips for designing and testing web pages and applications for various end-user environments:
- When creating a site or page, avoid using proprietary or browser-specific code.
- Follow Accessibility Guidance to design for end users with varying capabilities.
- Test web pages and applications in as many different browsers as possible.