I am sure you all know about Mictosoft’s IE9 Testdrive. Its main target was, for now, the developer – in an attempt to showcase the improvements in IE9 and maybe make us be more nice to them and forget how much time we waste with IE6.
What I was interested as a frontend developer was the the compatibility tables for features like SVG, CSS3 and DOM. And the test results, as per Microsoft’s page, are all gorgeous.
A more detailed list of supported features can be seen by checking their website but long story short, everything is green for them and not so green for the other browsers, except CSS3 :nth-child selector and CSS comments
and DOM level 2 style @import inside of @media
Another very interesting source of information regarding the present and future features supported by the browsers is When can I use… that also includes HTML5 elements – I notice IE9 testdrive page is not mentioning anything about HTML5 altough IE9 is expecting to support it in a certain percentage. They have also calculated the support that past and future browsers have for some features and their numbers are like this:
But you’d better check their website to see the features they worked with cause there are some differences that worth being taking into account.
We salute Microsofts initiative, altough we would love to see some of these CSS3 borders, backgrounds and selectors embedded in an IE8 update…cause we all check our statistics….
What can you answer to your client when you try to explain that your code is semantic, crossbrowser and…accessible and your client asks you “Good for you you’re coding accessible websites, but do you actually know any blind user?” Meaning, why should someone care about how you code a site as long as table-based code is still ok and cheap?
Well…you may remain speechless. Cause I really don’t know any blind person nor a person using assistive technology altough I do know people that need to increase the font-size or lower the screen resolution to be able to read better. But even if I did not “see” one that should not mean they don’t exist – but how can this be proved?
Since assistive technologies do not leave traces, maybe a solution is to see who’s clicking the a+ a++ buttons. This surely will leave some trace, right?
So we started an experiment: we wrote a script counting the number of clicks performed on the a+ a++ buttons (I know it’s not very scientific – anyone can click – but we’re counting on the fact that our users do not know about the experiment and that at least a small percentage of the clicks will be genuine). Every click is counted and written in a file. We compare it to the Google Analytics stats and hope to obtain some information about this aspect of the sites.
After a month of comparing both methods we saw that the a+/ a++ navigation was clicked on a daily basis (even though one site was selling Christmas decorations !!! ) and most of the time a++ was the star ! Between 5% and 8% of the visitors were clicking these links and that is more than the number of clicks on “about” or “contact” links.
Now, the question that started this article remains – what is the best answer for the client asking “Good for you you’re coding accessible websites, but do you actually know any blind user?”