Do try this at work

  • Words: Andy Clarke

Today, RIM unveiled its latest mobile browser. It runs WebKit making every mobile platform except one run that rendering engine. With that in mind, I’d like you to try this experiment.

Last year, RIM bought browser-design firm Torch Mobile Inc. That move makes Webkit the dominant rendering engine for mobile devices with all of the advantages that brings for designers and developers who want to embrace progressive CSS3 properties and more.

On the desktop, Internet Explorer may still be dominant, but taking into account the widening of the overall browser landscape, one that includes Webkit (Safari, Google Chrome, Shira and more), Gecko (Firefox, Camino and others) and Presto (Opera), it’s clear that the days in which we base our designs around the capabilities of Internet Explorer as the benchmark are growing shorter.

Still, every day I hear from designers and developers who say, “my clients won’t let me use progressive CSS it is not supported by IE” and “I will have to wait until IE6 diminishes and IE renders CSS the same as other browsers”. The comments section of any Smashing Magazine CSS3 article are littered with similar comments.

This is depressing for those of us who believe we should be basing our designs on the capabilities of the best browsers and not the capabilities of the worst. But it’s also an argument that can be easily solved if you handle it correctly.

So tomorrow, next week, next month, but as soon as you can, I want you to try this experiment with your clients, whether they be external or internal at your organisation.

Ask them outright,

What would you prefer me to do?

Spend my time hacking around issues in older technologies like Internet Explorer 6 or would you like that time spent making the site look the best that it can on better desktop browsers, as well as on the iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Blackberry and a whole host of other mobile devices?

I have a feeling I know what the answer will be, but I don’t have your clients or your day job or your approach to dealing with people. I have my own.

Do try this at work. And please tell me what happens.

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