Changing user requirements

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Changing user requirements

Postby MaxD » Mon Oct 29, 2007 8:04 pm

I thought I'd invite the opinions of web designers on the following:

    Older browsers - how many do you still cater for? Does someone with Internet Explorer 4 etc still visit your site/s?
    Modern computer screens - With the promise of multimedia PCs, widescreens and HD ready TV, how are you planning to cater for visitors with these systems coming to your site/s?
    Modern mobile phones - capable of making a website useable on the go. Do you cater for these users? I created a page just for my mobile phone with links and anchors, using html. Considering it worked fine, is xml for mobiles used much? The reason I ask is, I'm considering building a mobile site and also a version of a site just in XML


The view has been to create sites which look OK on a small monitor, for users with old browsers. Is much change needed right now :?:
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Postby Karlis » Mon Oct 29, 2007 9:42 pm

I think the optimum is to support:
* IE 5 and later
* FireFox, Netscape, Mozilla (they both use same Gecko engine)
* Opera 9 (if it works on the above, it will work on Opera just fine, experience)

Here are the stats of this month (pulled from some big site):
IE7 20.8%
IE6 34.9%
IE5 1.5%
FireFox 35.4%
Mozilla 1.2%
Safari 1.6%
Opera 1.5%

The website should work under 800x600 without horizontal scrollbars.

We do not go after mobile users because they are not our target customers. If you provide news or mobile services or entertainment, you should consider mobile users.
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Postby syrupcore » Mon Oct 29, 2007 10:49 pm

Unless you have stats on an existing site that says support it, I'd dump IE5. Safari 3 will be a push release in the coming weeks and I will gladly INSTANTLY drop support for safari 2 (again, unless site metrics say otherwise).

I tend to lean towards 750 sites. Again though, site metrics is the only real answer. Also, filling up a screen with stuff just because it's wider doesn't really help with reading. Like, reading slashdot is horrible. According to the new york times, the economist and the financial times, line lengths should never be more that 550. I've found this to be true for myself and with casual user testing. (long lines = harder to find the correct line to start with when you eyeballs do a carriage return)

If you're using css for layout and writing accessible, semantic HTML it should render just fine on a cell phone. Most of the 'web accessibility' stuff is targeted to disabled internet users but following those guidelines helps to make a site more globally accessible to all sorts of alternative browsing devices - including cell phones.

I work at http://www.isitedesign.com. I didn't do anything special to get it to render properly on a text based cell phone. Have a look then check out the source in a browser. It's a couple years old now but...

Will
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Postby MaxD » Tue Oct 30, 2007 8:38 pm

My new site is was made so that is was viewable on a 15" CRT screen using IE6 (as found in my local library) and with that in mind it does the job.
I can see the point of making a site for small screens, but not with monitors in mind. Most PCs advertised here (if they are a desktop) have a minimum 17" screen, and most laptops start from 15" (1024px). I think the pixel width increases if its a WXGA :? screen. Recently I've seen advertised mobile devices like the Nokia E90 with 800px wide screens, so catering for mobile devices seems a better idea. I use my mobile browser quite a lot and its incredibly useful.

Thanks for the stats, it seems that web design is going to get easier when all browsers support standards better, and old browsers get dropped.

Your site looks very good syrupcore. I will try out some of your suggestions on IE6 only styles etc
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Postby Karlis » Wed Oct 31, 2007 12:19 am

It IS easy, believe me. I remember days when we had to make HTML and CSS based website work equally well on IE4 and Netscape 4. It was a challenge.
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Postby MaxD » Mon Nov 05, 2007 9:11 pm

CSS is easy to understand, but I liken it to understanding the English language; knowledge of the written word will not necessarily make you a great writer. :wink:

A rather profound and useful analogy I thought. :)

A problem for an amateur designer is the lack of courses. I could go to an evening class and be taught to use FrontPage, but if you want to use html then its time to enrol on a full-time college course. If there was a course on ajax I'd enrol for an evening a week. Perhaps someone should write a teaching course for colleges... :?:
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