Cross-browser “compatibility” vs. Cross-browser “consistency”

So, this is a old topic, right?  Every developer knows that every single page has to looks exactly the same in every single browser known to mankind, right?  Or does it?

This is something I’ve been finding more and more irksome lately.  In my humble opinion, “compatibility” means “doesn’t break”, which is imperative; “consistency” means “looks identically”, which is a fallacy…

Consistency is in the eye of the beholder.

If you think about users (not developers, but average, every day users), how often do you think they view anything in more than one browser?  Likely never, I think.  Humans are habitual animals.  When we sit down at a computer, we look for “our” browser icon, be it a blue “e”, an orange fox, a compass, or something that takes me back to , and we double-click it.  We don’t open pages in FF some times, then open them in IE6 other times…

So people using, say IE6, will likely only ever see pages in IE6.  Therefore, there isn’t really any purpose to cross-browser ” consistency”…  As long as things look the same across your site, from page-to-page, in the same browser, that is the only consistency you should be worrying about… 

So, please, by all means, let’s make sure our sites are compatible across all browsers, but consistency across all browsers is really a waste of time and sanity…

Happy coding,
Atg

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *