Note: This page was written by Cari D. Burstein to express the sentiment behind the "Viewable With Any Browser" campaign. If you were referred here from a web site bearing the "Viewable With Any Browser" themed graphic or text, it means that the site author agrees with the campaign and is participating in the effort to discourage browser specific web design. Read below for more information on what it's all about, and to see if you'd like to participate.
"Anyone who slaps a 'this page is best viewed with Browser X' label on a Web page appears to be yearning for the bad old days, before the Web, when you had very little chance of reading a document written on another computer, another word processor, or another network."
-- Tim Berners-Lee in Technology Review, July 1996
If you've come to this page, you're probably curious about the "Viewable With Any Browser" themed button on it. Here's my explanation. I am very unhappy with the current trend towards web sites designing only for specific browsers and ignoring others. It's extremely annoying to me to visit a web site and to find that I've been rejected until I come back with Netscape or Internet Explorer. It's also annoying to visit web sites that allow you in with any browser, but rely heavily on tags only supported in a few popular browsers, or leave out support for text browsers.
I would like to reverse this trend. I know I can't change the web by myself, but every little bit counts, and this is my vote for a platform independent, non-browser specific World Wide Web. So, I have displayed the "Viewable With Any Browser" button to emphasize that I try to create my web sites to be viewable in all browsers, and totally functional. Some pages may look better in some browsers than others, but they should all be readable by any browser. I try to only use browser specific tags in appropriate manners, and only if there's a good reason for their use, and in the cases in which I've used tags which only some browsers support, such as image maps, frames, Java, etc., I have done my best to utilize the graceful degradability options available in HTML or provided alternatives for browsers that don't support them. Please let me know if you come across anything on my web pages that doesn't work in your browser (be specific about what browser you're using and what didn't work) and I'll try to fix it.
I invite anyone who wants to join in this effort to go ahead and copy any of the many graphics provided by participants in the campaign, which are available on the Any Browser Graphics page. If you feel like creating other graphics for the campaign, please do! (and let me know if I can provide that graphic for others to use). I would prefer if you linked the graphic to this page, so that people know what it's all about, or create your own page about this campaign, but if you don't want to that's cool with me too.
Here is a sample bit of html you can use (with appropriate modifications) if you like:
<p><a href="http://www.anybrowser.org/campaign/"><img src="path-to-graphic/graphicname" width="graphic-width-in-pixels" height="graphic-height-in-pixels" alt="Viewable With Any Browser" /></a></p>
Note: You should choose one of the graphics from the Any Browser Graphics page and copy it to your web site directory, and modify the above code to match your setup and the graphic you've chosen. Don't link directly to the graphic on my server if you can help it, because it will slow the loading of your page, create more stress on my server, and if I have to move the file, you could find that your link stops working suddenly.
If you would rather not display a graphic on your site, but would like to let people know that your site is designed to work with any browser, you might want to just add a text link somewhere on your site that says something along the lines of "Viewable With Your Favorite Browser" or "Best Viewed With Any Browser" (or whatever you want to say that reflects your approach). It would be nice if you would link this text to this page or if you would create your own page describing the campaign so that people who want to know about it can find more information, and perhaps design their own sites to be viewable by everyone. You may want to visit the Any Browser Graphics page to look for other campaign slogans that have been provided by campaign participants.
There are two main reasons to put the graphic and/or text on your site if you design web sites that are viewable in any browser:
- To let your visitors know that you are making an effort to make your site usable by everyone.
- To encourage other people to design their sites so they are viewable in all browsers.
I have created an Accessible Site Design Guide which discusses issues in web page accessibility and how to make your page as accessible as possible. This is not an HTML guide, but it will help you know what the accessibility trouble spots are in web pages, and provide advice on how to deal with them. Be sure also to consult the sites listed in the links section for additional information.
If you come across sites which aren't accessible and you would like to encourage them to make them viewable by any browser, it is a good idea to send them a message. There are some example letters available on this site.
I hope you'll join in the effort to discourage browser specific web design and help protect freedom of choice for all web users.
Let me know if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions.