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Call For W3C Web Page Validation 2005-06-23

Posted by clype in Gizmo, Statistics.
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1 in 10 UK websites fail to work properly on the open source 'Firefox' web browser, a study shows.

Some 100 leading consumer sites were assessed by web-testing firm 'SciVisum'.

Websites that proved difficult for 'Firefox' users to navigate included the government website Jobcentreplus.gov.uk and the cinema site Odeon.co.uk.

'Firefox' is an open source alternative to 'Microsoft's' 'Internet Explorer' and has proved popular since its launch in 2004-11.

While most people still use 'Microsoft's' browser, 'Firefox' is slowly making inroads.
Its share of the browser market grew to 8 per cent in 2005-05, up from 5.59 per cent at the beginning of 2005, according to US American-based analysts 'NetApplications'.

'Microsoft' 'IE's' share of the market dropped to 87.23% in 2005-05, compared to 90.31 per cent in 2005-01.

Question of code:

Of the websites that 'SciVisum' tested, 3 per cent were found to be turning away non 'Internet Explorer' ('IE') users and 7 per cent of the sites included non-standard code recognised only by 'Microsoft's' browser.

'Surprisingly, after all these years, users of standard-compliant browsers are still faced with sites that do not support their browser or with a link suggesting they download "Internet Explorer",' said Mr.Deri Jones, chief executive of 'SciVisum'.

This is largely because web developers are used to testing their sites just using 'IE' rather than so-called standards-compliant browsers, which only use code ratified by the World Wide Web consortium.

'There is a certain business logic to this as "IE" is the most widely used browser,' said Mr.Jones.

'Microsoft' is working on a new version of 'IE', largely in response to the success of 'Firefox'.

Disabled access:

'Companies who value their brand need to address browser issues immediately,' said Mr.Jones.

FIREFOX INCOMPATIBLE WEBSITES

–Source: 'SciVisum'
Web developers who create code around the web standards recommended by the World Wide Web stand to gain more than just friends among the alternative browser community.

It will also make it easier for disabled people to use, said Mr.Jones.

'Over time developers have begun to misuse the original standards created for the web to create websites that look great to you and I, but are confusing to a disabled person using a screen reader which needs to make sense of the content,' he said.

Simplifying things by separating content from presentation will have a third benefit in that it will make it easier for sites to be picked up by search engines, he added.

Some improvements:

The Odeon website, which is listed by 'SciVisum' as one of the culprits, has already come in for criticism about how accessible the site is for disabled users.

While its opening page seemed to work fine using 'Firefox', testers were faced with a blank page when they tried to enter the site.

An Odeon spokesman said:

'Firefox users can enter the site and get all the information about cinema listings and screening times, just without the bells and whistles of the fancier site.

'Instead of using the "Enter" button, they should use the text-only version.'

On the Jobcentreplus site, testers were unable to use the search facility, while insurance.co.uk gave the impression that it was broken despite the fact that it did actually work with the 'Firefox' browser.

'The British American Tobacco' website hid most of its pages from 'Firefox' users as the menu system did not show choices if visitors are not using 'IE'.

Some sites had made improvements. Electrical retailer 'Powerhouse' initially excluded 'Firefox' users when it launched its new website design in 2005-05, but it has since fixed the problem.

And 'English Heritage' no longer sends 'Firefox' browser users to a non-graphical version of the site.

'Firefox' has been created by 'The Mozilla Foundation' which was started by former browser maker 'Netscape' back in 1998.

The group is an open source organisation which means that the creators of the browser are happy for others to play around with the core code for the program.
'Firefox' is proving popular because, at the moment, it has far fewer security holes than 'Internet Explorer' and has some innovations lacking in 'Microsoft's' program.

  • 'Websites alienate Firefox users' BBC NEWS, 2005/06/23 08:41:54 UTC
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