No matter where I go on the vast World Wide Web, as a software developer there is a phrase that always catches my eye.
"This site runs best with..." (insert your favorite browser)
When I see that phrase, I usually start laughing, and after taking a quick look around the site, it's unlikely I'll ever visit it again. Why?
Because that phrase tells me a lot about those who designed the site. It says one of two things, sometimes both: either the designers were fixated on a particular feature set of a browser, or the designer was too lazy to do what it takes to make their site run on all current-release browsers.
The first reason happens all too often with people I call Webkit Freaks. These are people who have become enamored with certain features built into browsers using Apple's Webkit rendering engine. These features do not work at all in some browsers, or work poorly in most other non-Webkit browsers. (CANVAS immediately comes to mind.) Since I'm an equal-opportunity developer, when I see such a site (they're VERY easy to spot), most of the time I quickly move on to another site and never return. After all, why spend time on a site that works properly for maybe 25% of the viewing public?
The second reason is unfortunately all too common. The typical cause is Internet Explorer (IE), which prior to the 8.0 release (IE8), had all sorts of compatibility problems. The problem for a developer was that IE was the dominant browser for years, and not supporting IE was at best a poor decision, and at worst financial suicide. That all changed with the release of IE8, which fixed most of the compatibility issues, but unfortunately did not implement state-of-the-art features like CSS3 and HTML5. Because its feature set is limited compared to other browsers, I hear people all the time calling IE8 things like "garbage". It's not "garbage". It's actually a pretty good browser. It just doesn't have a rich feature set.
The thing is, it is easy to design a site that looks fine in IE8 but will look spectacular in superior browsers such as Firefox, Opera, and Safari. That should be the goal in website design today, but it does take a little bit of homework to design a site which meets those goals. You want to use CSS3 features like border-radius, box-shadow, and text-shadow? Great! Just make sure the site looks fine BEFORE you add these enhancements!
IE version 10 has now been released, and it does have a rich feature set. But people should continue to support IE8, at least for now, because IE9/IE10 will not run on Windows XP. Since almost half of all Windows users are still running XP, IE8 isn't going away anytime soon!
The Dion Designs site runs equally well on the current-release versions of Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera, and SeaMonkey. Those using IE8 will not see the rounded corners nor the embossed/engraved text, but everything else will be the same as in browsers that support those CSS3 features.