Mozilla, Chrome, Internet Explorer and Opera

you've probably visited many World Wide Web pages containing a note that says "best viewed with Netscape or Internet Explorer."

What does this mean?

It may mean the web site developer is a "browser snob." Any skilled web designer will create a site to be viewed in a variety of browsers. The goal is to attract as many users as possbile -- not send them away because they can't see the information your web site.

It means uses HTML coding that enhances the look, navigation and functionality of the documents. Only the recent versions of the most widely-used browsers support these features, like Netscape 4.7 and higher, or the Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0 or 5.0.

Using older browsers is like using other outdated software - you don't get all the features, or you have viewing problems with a web page. Web builders try to accommodate browsers that are available to everyone within the past year (including direct internet account users and online service customers). You can download browsers for free - there are links to Netscape and Internet Explorer at the bottom of this page.

Net surfers using older browsers are sort of like the browser snobs who design for a specific browser.

Other Browsers

Web browsers that do not support the latest HTML features include old versions of Netscape, Internet Exporer and older versions of America Online; or any version of Mosaic.

If you are using any of these browsers, there's a lot you may not be seeing. And you may be missing other features. Some elements of Web pages that may not appear properly are:

 Custom font sizes and colors

 Custom background colors, images and textures

 Online order forms

 Linked images not intended to have a border (like navigation buttons or image maps)

 Custom border widths and horizontal line widths

 Custom image alignment with text

 Tables - and many sites have a layout based on invisible tables

 Frames used to navigate a site.

America Online Users

The web browser that comes with AOL versions below 3.0 does not support many of the features described earlier, including JavaScript, which is used to for a variety of functions on this site. For better display, be sure to upgrade to the latest version of AOL software. To get the latest AOL software, use keyword "Upgrade" on AOL.

Some AOL customers can use Netscape or Internet Explorer with AOL - check Member Services on AOL for more information.

If a web site is graced by either of these buttons, chances are the web designer, hasn't thought about cross-browser issues. A web site that is finicky about what browser is used by its viewers may be loosing customers at an alarming rate.

Best Viewed in Netscape 4.0. Download it here!
Download Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0 Now!

Other browser choices

The browser wars are not over yet!

With the recent Justice Department ruling about Microsoft being a monopoly, it's a little early how net surfers will be impacted by the browser wars.

Two other choices -- Opera and Lynx -- are for hardcore Internet users. Opera is developed by Opera Software in Oslo, Norway.

Opera meets all the standards issued by the World Wide Web Consortium. Neither Netscape nor Internet Explorer meet the standards fully. That fact can be frustrating to Web site users and Web site builders alike.

Lynx is developed by the University of Kansas. Lynx is a text-only browser. Lynx doesn't provide all the bells and whistles of Netscape or IE, but it very fast.

The true test of a well designed usable site is Lynx. If the site can be navigated in Lynx, then it is well designed. If it can't be navigated in Lynx, the web designer should start over.

Lynx, despite it's text only limitations, is extremely fast -- even on the slowest computers.

Hardcore (and hardnosed) designers like those at test our web site architecture with Lynx, a text only browser. If a site can be navigated easily with Lynx, then it is well designed and probably will be accessible to those Internet users with disabilities.

Many sight-impaired and hearing impaired users often surf in text only mode. Those with sight impairments rely on text-to-speech synthesis software to translate web content.

Download Opera, the Windows versions of Lynx or the newest version of Mozilla from Tucows.