A MULTITUDE OF DEVICES
Until 2007, we could be relatively certain that our users were visiting our sites while sitting at their desks, looking at a large monitor, using a speedy internet connection. We had all more or less settled on 960 pixels as a good width for a web page based on the most common monitor size. Back then, our biggest concern was dealing with the dozen or so desktop browsers and jumping through a few extra hoops to support quirky old versions of Internet Explorer. And we thought we had it rough!
STICKING WITH THE STANDARDS
So how do we deal with this diversity? A good start is to follow the standards documented by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). Sticking with web standards is your primary tool for ensuring your site is consistent on all standards-compliant browsers (that’s approximately 99% of browsers in current use). It also helps make your content forward-compatible as web technologies and browser capabilities evolve. Another benefit is that you can tell your clients that you create “standards-compliant” sites, and they will like you more
ONE WEB FOR ALL (ACCESSIBILITY)
We’ve been talking about the daunting number of browsers in use today, but so far, we’ve only addressed visual browsers controlled with mouse pointers or fingertips. It is critical, however, to keep in mind that people access the web in many different ways—with a keyboard, mouse, voice commands, screen readers, Braille output, magnifiers, joysticks, foot pedals, and so on. Web designers must build pages in a manner that creates as few barriers as possible to getting to information, regardless of the user’s ability and the device used to access the web.
Every trip to the server in the form of an HTTP request takes a few milliseconds, and those milliseconds can add up. All those little Twitter widgets, Facebook Like buttons, and advertisements can make dozens of server requests each. You may be surprised to see how many server requests even a simple site makes.