Author: Jim Peters
I'm going to try here to give you some very valuable information. We all have a tendency to want to blame someone else when something isn't right or the way we think it should be. If you take nothing else from this article take this, before you blame the webmaster of the site you are viewing look at your system settings.
Yes, there are some horrible web pages on the internet and no matter what you do you'll never be able to view them properly. But, the majority of webmasters designing websites make sure that they are optimized for viewing by the majority of visitors, using the browsers that are most common.
If you use your computer to travel the vast expanse of the internet it is a MUST, for you to have your computer optimized for the best possible viewing experience. The job of designing websites is getting harder and harder. The variety of browsers and different
versions of those browsers force designers to look closely at the content they choose to place on their pages. One script that looks great on Microsoft IE 6.0 will totally scramble the page when viewed in Netscape Navigator 6.2. There are also a number of scripts that will destroy a site when the viewer is using AOL's browser.
What the webmasters we communicate with try to do is design their sites to be viewed by the majority. How do they know what the majority is, you ask? Well, they can look at their domain files and see who, what, when, why and where.
I'll share with you an example: This is the traffic breakdown from 1 of our sites over a 21 day period last summer.
1. MSIE 6.x 5,016 74.88%
2. Netscape 6.x 1102 17.91%
3. MSIE 5.x 144 4.28%
4. Netscape 3.x 35 1.04%
5. MSIE 3.x 27 0.80%
6. WebTV 23 0.68%
7. MSIE 0.x 10 0.29%
8. MSIE 2.x 3 0.08%
Total 6,395 100.00%
Top 10 Screen Resolutions -------------------------
1. 800 by 600 pixels 5,059 81.10%
2. 1024 by 768 pixels 875 11.88%
3. 640 by 480 pixels 167 5.29%
4. 800 by 580 pixels 20 0.63%
5. 800 by 553 pixels 10 0.31%
6. 1152 by 864 pixels 6 0.19%
7. 640 by 461 pixels 4 0.12%
8. 1280 by 1024 pixels 2 0.06%
9. 1152 by 870 pixels 2 0.06%
10. 767 by 553 pixels 1 0.03%
Operating Systems -----------------
1. Windows 98 5,083 67.24%
2. Windows 95 1,216 29.92%
3. Windows NT 39 1.14%
4. WebTV 23 0.67%
5. Other 18 0.53%
6. Windows 3.x 9 0.26%
7. Macintosh 6 0.17%
8. Sun SunOS 1 0.02%
Java Status -----------
1. Enabled 6,152 92.84%
2. Unknown 182 5.36%
3. Disabled 61 1.79%
This information tells me that most of the traffic to this site is:
1. Java Enabled 92%
2. Using either Windows 98 67% or Windows 95 29%
3. Using a screen Resolutions of 800 by 600 pixels 81% or 1024 by
768 pixels 11.88%
4. Browsers being used MSIE 6.x 74.88% and Netscape 6.x 18% That makes it very easy for me to know under what environment the majority of my visitors are viewing that site. I then design the site to be viewed by IE 6.0 or better NS 6.2 or better at 800 X 600 Resolution and I have no problem using Java Script.
The majority of websites are designed exactly that way. Now, here are a few guidelines to follow when you start your journey out into the vast reaches of cyberspace:
Use either Microsoft IE. 6.0 or better -- get it here:
or Netscape Navigator 6.2 or better -- get it here:
Set your screen resolution to 800x600 or better. That can be done in your Control Panel by clicking on display and then settings. I also use true color (24). With these settings you should be able to view the majority of sites the way they were designed to be seen.
OH! one more thing ... I don't know of a webmaster that designs sites to be viewed in anything other than a maximized window. If you're opening a site from a hyperlink in your e-mail you'll really need to click on the maximize button at the top right of the browser
I hope this will help to make your journey a bit more pleasant. And if you see something on a website using the above settings that isn't right, or find a bad link or just want to tell the webmaster you loved or hated their site, remember to tell them where you visited them. We have over 4000 web pages and we're always getting e-mail that just says "You have a link that gave me an error message" -- that really doesn't help me fix the problem. Also, keep in mind, if 5000 people viewed a web site without problems but you have one, the problem just might be on your end! We welcome all comments good and bad about our sites, so don't stop sending them.
About the Author
specializes in custom website design, promotion, maintenance,
site and graphic design, as well as e-commerce packages
for small to medium sized companies.