If you are using Internet Explorer, these pages look terrible. The layout is wrong, text is floating where it does not belong, there are big patches of empty space, and panels don't scroll that should. Using this site is an annoying experience in IE.
The problem is not with the page. The problem is with IE. Don't bother to send me an email telling me about problems you are having viewing my page in IE.
IE is not a standards-compliant browser. If you don't know what that means, here is a brief explanation. There are international standards for how browsers are supposed to display HTML. These standards are in place so that all browsers display a web page the same way — the way the designer intended it to look.
No web browser is perfect at adhering to these standards (except maybe Opera). But most web browsers try, and come pretty close. Microsoft doesn't even try. They render HTML “their own way,” that is to say, wrong.
I could have written this page so that it displayed properly in IE as well as in standards compliant browsers. But, then I would have had to abandon web standards, and I would have eneded up wrting invalid HTML. The only way to get IE to play nice with a page like this is to use a bunch of unofficial “hacks.”
I thought it was more important to adhere to web standards. Besides, there is no reason to specifically design for IE, when there is a far more elegant solution:
IE is really just an updating engine for Windows that happens to have some minimal web-browsing capability. It displays web pages incorrectly, it’s not secure, it’s buggy and unstable, and it doesn’t have the cool (and useful) features of other modern web browsers. Plus, its competition is available for free. So stop using it. Get a better browser, and you will be so happy that you did.
Here are some recommended browsers available for free.
I have personally tested this site in the following browsers, all of which displayed the all of the pages as intended:
(* I’m fibbing a little here: both Chrome and Safari had one small layout issue on one page of this site. It’s the fault of my design, and I’ll change it if I get around to it; but it was really too minor of an issue for me to count it.)
If you are using a browser not listed above, and this site looks fine to you, let me know. I’d like to make sure that the browsers I didn’t test personally display the site OK.
I also tested the following browsers, all of which rendered usable, but ugly and inconvenient, webpages:
Experienced web users will notice which one of these kids is not like the others. Lynx and Dillo are ultra-stripped-down browsers that are not intended to be full-featured. Lynx is text-only, and provides no layout features at all! IE, on the other hand, is supposed to be a full-featured browser. Yet it renders this site in much the same way that Dillo does.
Note that I did not test the site in IE7. IE7 supposedly has better rendering ability than its predecessor. However, I believe that, in order to be viewed properly in IE7, a web page has to contain specific instructions to that browser in the page's header. I don’t even know how to do that, and it hardly seems worth the trouble, especially if the page may look wrong, anyway.
If this site is not rendered correctly for you in a full-featured browser other than Internet Explorer, feel free to drop me a line and complain, and I’ll try to fix the problem.
If you know how to make this site display correctly in both IE and in standards-compliant browsers, without resorting to invalid HTML or CSS, please send me an email and let me know how. I don’t want to hose IE users. I know that a lot of them have no choice — they are using someone else’s computer, or have too slow of an internet connection to download a new browser. I would be happy to learn more about web design, if it would enable me to let everyone see this page properly.
In the meantime, I am going to try to keep the site at least readable in lightweight browsers. I can't guarantee that it will look pretty.