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4:2 Account for Browser Differences

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4:2 Account for Browser Differences

Relative Importance:

Relative Importance rating of 4 out of 5

Strength of Evidence:

Strength of Evidence rating of 2 out of 5

Document Type: Guideline




Do not assume that all users will have the same browser features, and will have set the same defaults.


Users with visual impairments tend to select larger fonts, and some users may turn off backgrounds, use fewer colors, or overrides font. The designer should find out what settings most users are using, and specify on the Web site exactly what assumptions were made about the browser settings.


  • Evans, M. (1998). Web Design: An Empiricist’s Guide. Unpublished master’s thesis. Seattle: University of Washington. Retrieved May 2003, from
  • Levine, R. (1996). Guide to Web Style. Sun Microsystems.

Good Example:

When using one popular browser, moving the mouse over the tabs at the top of the page and left-clicking will reveal a drop-down menu with navigation choices. This functionality is not available when using another popular browser, where a single left click will take you to a new page entitled 'Air, Car & Hotel'. 


Related Usability Guidelines: