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force10x
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Hi everyone,

I have been struggling with a CSS issue since the past few days.
Having failed to come up with a solution, in desperation, I am posting here for some advice.
(Yes, I did search these forums and google and relevant tutorials available on the www)

The concept is here
http://force10x.freehostia.com/css_mess/concept_01.jpg

The HTML/CSS page is here
http://force10x.freehostia.com/css_mess/

As you can see in the HTML version, the message box expands, but the containers don't (the outer red box and the message/comments box).
is there any way I can get the container to expand depending on the length of the content.

strangely, this works perfect in IE6 Sad

Is this because I am using floats? if yes, would it be possible to create this layout without using floats?

If would be great if some one could point me to a resource or let me know what I am doing wrong.

Thank you for taking the time to help..

Kind regards,
F

Faith_Love_Hope

Hugo
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Quote:Yes, I did search

Quote:

Yes, I did search these forums and google and relevant tutorials available on the www

clearly not hard enough Wink N.B not said harshly Smile

Try 'clearing float containers' or similar, we cover this issue so frequently that there is seldom a day that goes by without a thread on the subject, so read a few of the relevent posts that you will find especially take note of why there is an apparent difference in how IE handles things from modern browsers. If you have further questions throw them up here, and we'll try and help further.

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osgood
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Theres a few ways to clear

Theres a few ways to clear your float/s but I would start by changing this:

#messages_comments_container{position:relative; height:14em; border:#445566 1px solid;}

to:

#messages_comments_container{border:#445566 1px solid; overflow: hidden;}

Not sure why youre using heights or relative positioning, both are redundant in this senario.

You could also use a clearing break to do the job:

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force10x
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Thank you

Thank you Hugo and Osgood.

It's amazing how knowing what to look for can make a difference.

before posting I did go through tutorials like Floatutorial and articles on Alistapart etc.

I guess I have not fully understood the way clear works.

Thanks to your suggestions I have made some progress. Though achieving cross-browser (FF2, FF3, IE6 and IE7) compatibility seems to be an unrealistic goal at the moment.

Once again thank you for your time and help.

cheers!
F

Faith_Love_Hope

force10x
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tips

Learned few things thought I'd post it here.

1. remember to clear all floats.
2. stay away from using padding and width at the same time. IE6 and FF2/FF3/IE7 renders it differently.
3. Font sizes in IE and FF dont look the same if you specify them in percentages or ems.
A good Idea is to define a global font size right at the beginning that sets the size for the font.

I set the body font to 16px which is the size for Medium text. Then later in the css used percentages to make them scalable.

Setting the font to 16px make it look the same in IE6/IE7/FF2/FF3

any thoughts/comments?

cheers!

Faith_Love_Hope

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force10x wrote:Setting the

force10x wrote:

Setting the font to 16px make it look the same in IE6/IE7/FF2/FF3
any thoughts/comments?

If you use pixel values for font-sizes, people using IE6 can't resize the text.

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force10x
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pixel values for font-sizes

And.... you are right.

So I am back to setting the font size to 100% Sad
and again it does look different in IE6 and FF2.

I guess I would need to use !important and set separate font size for IE and FF.

Another issue I have now is that the float within the containers wont scale to 100% height.
as you can see at http://force10x.freehostia.com/css_mess/concept_01.jpg

the light-blue div "form elements" must expand to take the height of the dark blue div below it.
Unfortunately height:100% or min-height:100% wont work in IE6 or FF2.
*sigh*

*mmm...usssst.....f..ff.ight...uurgee....to.....use...ttablessss......*

Faith_Love_Hope

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force10x wrote:I guess I

force10x wrote:

I guess I would need to use !important and set separate font size for IE and FF.

No, you shouldn't need to do that (using !important to account for browser differences is hackish). There shouldn't be that much variation between FF & IE.

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force10x
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Quote:using !important to

Quote:

using !important to account for browser differences is hackish

Well, the font in IE looks a size larger compared to FF2. and this happens on just two computers that have exactly the same configuration as the rest. At first we thought its the resolution setting on the computers but after spending a few hours we learnt that the PCs are all ok. Sad

hence the need for !important.

on another note, can a web application be developed without hacks and yet work on IE6, IE7, FF2 and FF3??
I really don't think so.

After like three weeks of playing around with css, I have realised that something or the other breaks in some browser or the other. And the only way around it to use hacks.
Specially to address issues like font-size, the 3 pixel margin issue in IE6 (for some unknown reason it is 4 pixels for me), setting widths to appear and function the same in all browsers.

This has been a struggle, but definitely some learning for me Wink

Faith_Love_Hope

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People can enlarge fonts set

People can enlarge fonts set in px on any browser, even IE6. Its amazing that people only tell you want they want to tell you and not the whole truth.

After testing I found the same as you that fonts set in anything other than pixels look different in different browsers, infact sometimes plain ugly. Although I don't like using pixels because, yes, it does present additional work for the end user should they want to enlarge the text I feel using px based fonts gives me control over how I want to present the page. Most people with good eyesight, or that which has been optically correct wont have any issues reading px based fonts. Those that do, will already know how to overide fonts set in px and that can be done in any modern browser.

Of course its a personal choice you need to make.

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Well you'll never design a

Well you'll never design a reasonably complex page without using a 'hack' or two. Just learn the main browser bugs, theres not many to be honest. Factor these in either at the time of writing the css or use conditional comments in the case of IE.

force10x
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Thank you for taking the

Thank you for taking the time to post osgood

I did test in IE6 and with pixels, the font would not scale. It did scale in IE7 though.
actually, IE7 does not scale, but "Zooms". It enlarges even the images unlike the scaling/expansion in FF2 where images don't scale.

Now, I have set all the font-family to sans-serif. As suggested by a senior developer, I am given to understand that setting fonts to a specific family is not a good practice.
so font-family:verdana,sans-serif is no good.

Speaking of hacks. oh well...I hope browsers get some standardisation in the way they render elements on a page. It's a nightmare developing for IE6/IE7/FF2/FF3 and I haven't even looked at how thins go on a linux or Mac Sad

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osgood wrote:Those that do,

osgood wrote:

Those that do, will already know how to overide fonts set in px and that can be done in any modern browser.

You know that for certain do you?

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There would be very few that

There would be very few that don't given their circumstances. Of course its a personal opinion much like anyone elses.

What I do is offer both sides of the story, unlike some.

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Hi Force Ox, Font will

Hi Force Ox,

Font will scale in IE6. You have to go into control panel and override some font settings. My personal view is those that need to enlarge the text will find out how to do this and they will be set up to be able to do so.

Once IE6 is out of the way every modern browser will have a zoom facility build in so it wont matter a jot if you use em, percent or pixels. It's purely a matter of choice. It wont be a question or right or wrong.

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My husband is volunteer

My husband is volunteer teaching "computer skills" to seniors, who all have crap eyes. If seniors are lucky, they'll have grandchildren to go hunting through IE's various settings to change the font size. If they're lucky. Currently I'm asking hubby to show people how to do this, though most of them have trouble/get lost after getting more than a level deep-- they can't remember what stuff sits under.

I personally think it's folly to try to get font sizes the same in all browsers on all machines. Why? Not every OS has the same fonts, not every machine has the same dpi, not every font is even the same x-height.
There's nothing intrinsicly wrong with setting specific font families-- just know that the browser is supposed to start looking for the first, if not finding it the second, and so on to the end. A machine with verdana will then have larger text than one without-- Verdana has a tall x-height at the same "font size".

Same for Georgia/Times New Roman. Georgia is bigger.

As everyone's already said, people can change the font size if they're smart enough you so very hard worked to make the same in all browsers, so why worry about it? So long as it looks approx. the same in relation to the boxes and design around them, let them be.

If you need to be a real font Nazi, it's time for image replacement : )

In any case, I set all my fonts in em and damned with IE users. I'm not going to hope people dumb enough to use that browser are going to magically be smart enough to dig into browser settings (remember, these people think "IE6" means "The Internets") to change a default. Just like I don't expect them to realise well-written pages may look like s*** because they use a s*** browser full of bugs... instead, I hack for them.

I don't use !important because it's retarded, but I do hack. Osgood's right, you're always going to have at least a hack here or there, at least for IE. But the goal is to have as few of them as possible.

I'm no expert, but I fake one on teh Internets

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osgood wrote:Hi Force

osgood wrote:

Hi Force Ox,

Font will scale in IE6. You have to go into control panel and override some font settings. My personal view is those that need to enlarge the text will find out how to do this and they will be set up to be able to do so.

What I believe I know is that all the studies of how people behave when they come to a web site contradict you. What they can do is beside the point, surely. It's what they will actually do that's important. And I believe the studies say that what they will do, by and large, is go elsewhere. I know that as a rule that's what I do myself. Now if you want folks to visit and stay at your site why would you make them do extra work to do so?

I could be wrong, though. Do you know of a study that contradicts my beliefs on the matter?

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Rule 1: Assume all users are

Rule 1: Assume all users are complete and total morons and use the computer like they use the toaster (push button, done).

Rule 2: Assume they are all smart enough to change everything you do with every sort of weird setting.

These two contradictory rules will get you past the unwashed masses (bvb IE6 users, or just The General Public Who Think A Browser Is Teh Interwebs) and also the cases here and there (of the low-vision with their 120dpi machines, dual-monitor nerds, people with insanely-wide monitors, unusual font settings, character encodings, mobile phones, scripts on or off, MAGic or ZOOM with or without a screen reader, etc). The latter folks are fewer in number (and they are the ones who change browser settings, or browser with more than one browser) but you can't just cater to one group (well, you can, but if it's an informational, government or commercial website you are slitting your own throat if you do).

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The majority of users WONT

The majority of users WONT need to change anything regardless of whether em, percent or px based fonts are used. If they do then they need should probably consult an optician.

Those that do have particularly poor vision and need assistance, will, in my opinion quickly overcome the problem by setting their browser defaults to what suits them.

Anyway as I said once IE6 has bitten the dust it doesn't mater, as every mainline modern browser will come installed with a zoom feature.

Personally I don't believe in totally handing out a 'blank' canvas to end users. One must retain some degree of control over the end product, even if only for a few minutes. 'This is what you could have but I'll let you mess it up now.'

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It is perfectly possible to

It is perfectly possible to design pages that are accessible to people with all types of vision or even no vision at all and do not require them to make any adjustments.

CSS makes the tools available, and the fact that you refuse to use those tools says more, in my opinion, about you than about CSS.

The web is still not paper and is not going to be paper any time soon.

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Sure I don't profess to

Sure I don't profess to 'towing' the line. I base my opinions on what I think suits my clients the best and will give my clients the edge over their competitors, much like everyone else I guess.

However I don't close my eyes to any solutions, like some. If using Flash brings something extra to the party then that's the way to go. If it means a minority wont see it or cant use it then so be it. Not that I use Flash myself but I certainly have an admiration for those that can produce it and deploy it to good effect.

I don't try to design for everyone, its impossible, thats IF you want to produce a 'targeted' product.

You have to weigh up these decisions at the start of the project. If I was designing something specifically for visually impaired users then it would totally different from the design I would produce for 'normal sighted' people. The fact that I do sometimes ignore certain demographics is purely based on the effectiveness of the end product.

Just because the web is not paper it doesn't mean its ok to just serve up any old thing and largely leave it up to the end user how they choose to use it. It has to be a compromise in my opinion.

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osgood wrote:Just because

osgood wrote:

Just because the web is not paper it doesn't mean its ok to just serve up any old thing and largely leave it up to the end user how they choose to use it. It has to be a compromise in my opinion.

It's up to the end user no matter what you do. Of course we don't serve up "any old thing", we serve up content that people want to see or use, and we style it to make it accessible, usable, stylish, and even pretty. This is all pefectly doable without forcing users to resize fonts just to see our page.

The end user has ultimate control and we can't change that, so we need to develop with that in mind.

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interesting insights from

interesting insights from all.

I personally think that building a website is like building a house.
You build the skeleton based on what your target customer would want. But you also build it according to standards. You don't build smaller, narrower doors just cause the folks eventually livening in that house are shorter or slimmer. The doors would be built so that a general human being can pass through.

Plus you don't build doors/windows of different sizes for each of the rooms. They would all be fairly standard so that at any point if the user wants or if anything breaks it can be easily replaced or upgraded.

So i think is the case with fonts. Yes the user can change it, if not they will figure it out some way. But I rather the user spends time using the tool then trying to learn or spend time to fix it.

Why take the trouble to make it look the same in all browsers? well, thats because I want each visitor to have the same experience then they use the application. Folks have different reasons for wanting larger or smaller font size. And the application should cater to their basic needs and within reasonable boundaries.

I, for one am not going to spend time making the application work 100% exactly on all browsers and all OS.
But yes, I would definitely try and make it identical and usable as much as possible.

Thanks again.
cheers!

Faith_Love_Hope

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force10x wrote: Plus you

force10x wrote:

Plus you don't build doors/windows of different sizes for each of the rooms. They would all be fairly standard so that at any point if the user wants or if anything breaks it can be easily replaced or upgraded.

Well one must not push analogies too far. Houses are not web sites and are designed to be rigid. The web is designed from the ground up to be flexible and it is, in my opinion, a mistake to not recognize this or to make it inflexible.

If there was, however, a way to create a house that resized itself to fit it's buyer's body size would that not be a good idea? If you could design a shoe that accomidated itself to the purchasers foot size wouldn't that save shoe developers a whole lot of money wasted making shoes in different sizes? The web allows us this flexibility, indeed designs this flexibility in from the ground up, so I think it is surely a mistake not to take advanage of that.

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osgood wrote:Personally I

osgood wrote:

Personally I don't believe in totally handing out a 'blank' canvas to end users. One must retain some degree of control over the end product, even if only for a few minutes. 'This is what you could have but I'll let you mess it up now.'

Sure, I have major control-Nazi-issues myself : ) With fonts, I assume most people, even those who SHOULD know better, only know how to ctrl++ or View >Text Size>whatever, and that's fairly easy to do. It's easy to assume people are morons here, even the blind, and that makes my sites easier. Seriously, why should I force users to dig through their browser settings JUST to read my freaking site? How about I make users do a little clown dance and sing songs from West Side Story before they can enter my shop? Just for sh*ts and giggles, for the joy of being evil. Or I can just let them in and give me money for my stuff. I don't count "fonts" under "complicated web design issues".

Other things I do try to control more-- mostly this means more testing-- If I insist that the page maintains x-design even at 600x800, then I build it so and then test test test. It costs more time, but keeps me happy. Now users can be as small as 600x800 or as large as my ridiculously-large monitor and everything's still what I want. If the user goes smaller though they get a scrollbar. Scrollbars suck, but I have my limits : )

So, as a web developer, we find where our limits are, and as Force said possibly looking at the target audience (sometimes that matters and other times, such as with gov't sites (or my sites), you must accommodate everyone no matter what they're using).

Quote:

However I don't close my eyes to any solutions, like some. If using Flash brings something extra to the party then that's the way to go. If it means a minority wont see it or cant use it then so be it. Not that I use Flash myself but I certainly have an admiration for those that can produce it and deploy it to good effect.

I hate Flash, and hate making Flash, but it does have accessibility pros, esp with educational websites (and of course, if it's narrated Flash, it's automagically blind-friendly). But my personal line is, if you do some thooper-pooper-thcooper Flash site like http://www.oilily.nl/ then I'm not happy until there's an HTML backup. I don't mind Javascript enhancing a site or helping a form look cleaner and easier to understand for the weak of mind, but I shouldn't NEED it to get to the content. If I do, the site's a FAIL (ie, most Dutch sites-- I swear for some reason the Dutch have this huge boner for Javascripting every little thing... it's ridiculous). Images, Flash, Javascript, sound-- all these are enhancements, usability and accessibility enhancements as well as design enhancements. They can be a Good Thing.

They can also be Teh Suck.

I like better the analogy of the wheelchair ramp. City hall pays for a concrete wheelchair ramp to go alongside their stairs. Taxpayers grumble a bit-- there are no disabled users in their town. Why did they waste their money?

But it turned out to remove barriers nobody ever thought of. The UPS guy could now just roll his dolly out from the truck. The mom with one of those SUV-like multi-child strollers could get to the door easier. Grandma, who walks with a cane and has an unsteady gait, found the ramp easier to go up than the stairs, and lessened the chances that she'd fall, break her hip, and die after 6 weeks of just sitting in bed and doing nothing but watching Matlock. When the local football hero breaks his leg in a game and is temporarily in a wheelchair, everything is still cool. After hours, kids skateboarded on the ramp (and stairs).

Mostly, I hate getting frustrated at poorly built sites. They suck and their builders should suffer horrible deaths (ok, that's not very Buddhist of me is it?) after being forced to spend like a hour trying to fill out a poorly built form or read 9px tall text or read a site that makes a horizontal scrollbar even just to read some text just because the developer was too lazy to built it right.

But when the design decisions (it needs to look precisely like X) override usability, then they are teh suck. Great, you've made a gorgeous piece of art, and half the users can't use it. Okay, I have a low opinion of Art in general (what does it do? sit there and look pretty), but websites that are nothing BUT art because they're unusable belong at the bottom of teh Tubes. Decoration is fine, but don't call it a web site. It's a steaming pile with some pretty on top. Users don't blame their browser, ever. Do they? Never. They blame you for making crap. And most of the time, they're right.

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Quote: If there was,

Quote:
If there was, however, a way to create a house that resized itself to fit it's buyer's body size would that not be a good idea? If you could design a shoe that accomidated itself to the purchasers foot size wouldn't that save shoe developers a whole lot of money wasted making shoes in different sizes? The web allows us this flexibility, indeed designs this flexibility in from the ground up, so I think it is surely a mistake not to take advanage of that.
Quote:

No it wouldn't be a good idea in my opinion because you're then limiting what could be achieved because you have to take too much into account to cater for all. You end up with severely compromised product. That's why product manufactures produce goods aimed at the 'majority', not the 'minority'.

Websites are no different, or should be no different. Yes, you don't go out of your way to ignore anyone in the process of building a website but you may decide that certain sections fall into minority bracket, which if you took those into account may deprive the majority of a better experience.

It is, of course, a personal choice but you should start with an open mind when approaching a project.

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Most good exponents of

Most good exponents of html/css always hate Flash. I think they're more overwhelmed by its present that actually hate it.

The problem is the person in the street loves it, some clients loves it and you ignore it at your peril. Used sparing and produced well it can add to the experience of surfing the web. The fact that some cant see it or it is non-accessible again I come back the 'minority' issue. Why deprive the majority of a better visual experienced to cater for the minority who unfortunately cant see it?

Its harsh I know but its reality. Trying to cater for all is a big mistake.
No other profession does it, so why should web developers, makes no sense at all.

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Quote:The problem is the

Quote:

The problem is the person in the street loves it, some clients loves it and you ignore it at your peril. Used sparing and produced well it can add to the experience of surfing the web. The fact that some cant see it or it is non-accessible again I come back the 'minority' issue. Why deprive the majority of a better visual experienced to cater for the minority who unfortunately cant see it?

To me, it's not that one cannot use Flash. The majority can enjoy Flash. But I see it as the developers JOB (as part of the whole project) to provide fallback. Every decent system has a fallback. The current, fancy term for this is "graceful degredation"-- if you don't have the software, the scripts, or the user agent to enjoy x, can you still at least USE it?

Yeah obviously something like a WOW-gaming site aimed at rich teenagers who obviously have the money for decent machinery, Flash installed, and all the necessary scripts and whatever on... I'm not sure how much time I'd put into a fallback system. It would likely depend on how much content there was.

I would however have a fallback no questions asked for say, a photographer's Flash or JS-based image gallery IF it's a business site. I believe that while a blind visitor may not have any interest in the photos themselves (duh), they may be there to research the location, availability times, costs, and reviews of the photographer's work in order to, for instance, hire them for a daughter's wedding. IN a case like this, it would surely be silly to say, well the photographer wants Flash so that's all I'll build. That's a disservice to the client (photographer) and his/her visitors, even if the photographer never thought any different. I wouldn't NOT use Flash-- I'd just use it smart.

Quote:

Its harsh I know but its reality. Trying to cater for all is a big mistake.

I think a good developer needs to be a good judge of when it's feasible and useful to cater to all. "All" still being restricted to some group of people: maybe only English speakers or at least those who can read, and all need Internet access.

Most cases of the minority being left behind seem, from what I've seen on teh interTubes, to be mostly ignorance, laziness, or not enough time for the project. I don't think simple accessibility should cost more time, very little extra testing, and should just be there as a basis as much as the HTML and CSS itself is.

It sounds like we generally agree though, I'm just picking nits.

We're not going to make the blind see, the deaf hear, or make cripples walk, nor is that our job. But the other side is, the Tubes are a boon to many disabled and if it's fairly easy to make content available and accessible to them with minor changes and better ideas of what's likely or possible in visitors, I think there's no reason to not do it. Because as a professional, you don't do something only for the money or whatever. You bother to do it right as well. People are argue on the fine points of what's right, but we all know the general idea.

And for me, I think it's wrong to add unnecessary onus on some people by setting fonts in px, when I can set them in em and get the same job done. The only people I know who look in all browsers to see if something's a hair off are web developers. The sites I build do look the same between browsers where bugs allow. The subtle differences are what the users of those browsers experience anyway-- Safari users are used to that nasty Aqua-teen-manga-candy garbage that browser uses as browser chrome, so actually they should be SURPRISED when the come across a form I've made with my personally-styled form controls, even if that makes them blend in better with the site. IE users are used to that font-smoothing junk, FF and Opera users are used to sh*t fonts, Linux users are used to NO (web) fonts, etc. Yeah this paraaf is more directed towards Force-- I understand wanting the user experience to be pretty much the same, but since the web isn't paper, the best you get is good-enough. People can't choose their preferences with a newspaper, but they can with a blog. Other differences are out of their control but it has set how they view things (always on teh Tubes with IE7 on Vista for example).

I'm no expert, but I fake one on teh Internets

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scope1000 wrote: No it

scope1000 wrote:

No it wouldn't be a good idea in my opinion because you're then limiting what could be achieved because you have to take too much into account to cater for all. You end up with severely compromised product. That's why product manufactures produce goods aimed at the 'majority', not the 'minority'.

You seem to be terribly concerned by your needs as a developer and not very concerned with the needs, wants, or whims of the visitors. I think that's a totally backwards way of thinking and will only lead you into trouble and woe as a designer.

You have no control over other people. You can't change anybody else's behaviour, only your own. If your behaviour in designing pages leads people to leave your sites then that's your problem, not theirs.

Now if you want to ignore these facts, that's your right. You will have to live with the consequences, not I.

Ed Seedhouse

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No, he seems concerned with

No, he seems concerned with the majority of his client's visitors and what his client wants. I believe clients don't think of the minority unless forced by law and that it's the developer's job to see how many of "all" he can give site access to.

Simply because it isn't an either-or issue (you can cater to BOTH most of the time) it's not really an issue until it gets so bad it's like a No Jews Or Blacks Allowed sign-- which is how I feel about Javascripted sites for simply basic use, or Flash with absolutely zero alternative. Javascript and Flash themselves are fine but if they become requirements for accessing basic site content... there lies evil. Punishing users for not having perfect eyes, scripts ruinning, or certain proprietary players, which often is out of their control.

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scope1000
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Quote:You seem to be

Quote:

You seem to be terribly concerned by your needs as a developer and not very concerned with the needs, wants, or whims of the visitors.

Nope, totally and utterly wrong. I have no needs as a developer myself. I assess my clients needs and what they want first and then I try and produce something which will appeal to the majority of their customers.

Quote:

If your behaviour in designing pages leads people to leave your sites then that's your problem, not theirs.

Wrong again! Hopefully my open-minded approach leads to the correct solution according to the specification of the brief. It works both ways, not enough compelling content and people will leave, equally some people will leave if they find the design/content doesn't reflect what they may consider they want. I've never been one to play safe and just sit on the fence. As I've said before 'you're never going to please all of the people all of the time.

Quote:

Now if you want to ignore these facts, that's your right. You will have to live with the consequences, not I.

They are not facts, they are assumptions based on ones individual opinions. We all have to live with the consequences of our action. Some you win some you loose.

Osgood!