The Elephant in the Room
Almost a month ago, I wrote about supporting older browsers — how and whether we should even support them.
We draw a line in the sand that says, "You popular browsers, stand over here. Everybody else, just be happy you got content."
More specifically, a base style sheet would declare some default font styles but no float or other layout tricks. Just linear content. This default would look decent in any browser, no matter from what era. It makes a great print style sheet, too.
The general consensus that came from that was to ignore old browsers like they don't exist. Testing in every browser is impossible. Therefore, we test for what we know and hope for the best with the rest.
Today, Andy Clarke (and all that malarkey) released a Universal Internet Explorer 6 CSS. The idea behind it is to provide a simple style sheet devoid of any layout tricks but that still provides a designed experience. Just linear content. This default would look decent in any browser. It even makes a great print style sheet, too.
I, personally, prefer this approach of providing a minimalist experience over the idea of preventing people from accessing it altogether. Or berating them for their choice of browser, assuming they have any choice at all. We should stop making fun of the kid who dresses funny because his parents can't afford nice clothes.
This still doesn't solve the problem for those browsers we no longer want to test in. What of those 83 people that visited my site in the last month with Safari 2? Or the 2500 people that were still using Firefox 2? I can only assume that what I've designed looks half decent. I mean, Firefox 2 has decent CSS support, right?
I guess we just hope for the best.