> This is more of a general standards question, but if you are designing a
> page for the public in general (in my case a university) at what point (
> % wise _or_ # of browsers) do you say 'Okay this is the site, no more
> trying to accommodate obscure browsers/older versions of browsers." ? I
> know there is no stand pat answer but I would like to know what
> particular people use and if there is a common thinking.

Given that you have a university client...

1) Find out what is in their standard desktop install right now, AND
also what will be in their next release. That way you'll get an idea
of how the standard install is skewing the stats. eg. you might find a
disproportionate amount of IE5.5 or Netscape 6 users, since that's
what everyone on campus is using. The good news is that standard
installs can be updated - that's why you do them.

2) Universities have to "support everyone" to some extent, although
there are still limits. The key term I'd use (for any client) is
"supported via graceful degradation" - don't say a browser is
"unsupported", since that sounds negative. Instead use @import and
other tricks to make sure old browsers get an absolutely vanilla - but
functional - version of the site. Voila. "supported".

3) If you're looking at % of market, rank each browser in terms of
"incoming" or "outgoing". A new browser with a 5% share is very
different from an ancient browser with its last 4% trailing away. That
will help.

4) Watch out for obscured browsers - Opera for instance is set to
identify as IE6, which makes it a major pain to get real stats if your
browser sniffer doesn't see past that. Similarly, some versions of
Safari will identify as Mozilla in many stats setups (it has a long
and strange ID string). You might also want to collate/collapse the
many variations of Firefox and Mozilla - both tend to fragment really
badly so to get a real idea you have to add all the bits up.

Hope that helps.


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