Why isn’t your site displaying correctly?

The most likely reason that our site is not displaying correctly is because you are using an older version of Internet Explorer (version 6 or earlier).  When viewed with Internet Explorer 6 (IE 6) or less, some of the text elements on the page can be misplaced.  If you are using IE 6 or earlier and experiencing these problems, here are a few suggestions to help you view our website:

1. Update your Internet Explorer. Click here to upgrade to the latest version of IE.  Our site is completely compatible with and displays correctly on Internet Explorer 7 & 8.

2. Use a different web browser. Please be aware that Internet Explorer is NOT the only web browser available to you and that not all browsers are created equal. Some other browsers that can be downloaded and installed FOR FREE are: Firefox, Opera, and Google Chrome to mention a few. These three display this site and other sites correctly. Please see the “A Little About Web Browsers” section below explaining more about web browsers and the differences among them.

3. If you are not comfortable with downloading a new browser, or you just want to view the text right now, you can simply click and drag your mouse over the text to highlight it.  This should render enough contrast to be able to read the text.

A Little About Web Browsers
For those who don’t know, a web browser is a program that your computer uses to view websites on the internet. Internet Explorer is a web browser that comes standard on PCs using Windows (computers that use the Windows operating system are usually referred to as PCs). In general, the majority of people have PCs, as opposed to Macs(Apple) or Linux computers, so therefore most people browse the internet with Internet Explorer because it is already conveniently installed on their computer.  As stated above, Internet Explorer (IE) is not the only web browser out there.  Firefox, Opera, and Google Chrome are all available for Windows.  These browsers are FREE, safe, and reliable.

Please note that the following opinions are not necessarily those of American Autowire, Inc., just what I, as a web designer and avid web user, have found to be true.

It seems that many users get stuck in a rut of convenience.  They use IE because they have always used it.  It’s convenient and familiar and gets them from point A to point B on the internet.  What I fear about these people is that they don’t realize what they are missing.

I never use IE, unless I am testing a website. I find it to be unpolished, clunky, and bogged down by security issues. My personal preference is Firefox. It is slick, reliable, customizable (colors, themes, add-ons), and displays both text and images wonderfully. Firefox is made by a company called Mozilla. They were one of the first to offer a reliable and more secure alternative web browser to IE. They also make Thunderbird email client, along with many other programs, which I also recommend.

Firefox, Safari (Mac only), Opera, and Chrome all display web pages in a much more visually pleasing way.  Edges are smooth, text looks less pixelated, and spacing is easier on the eye. If you view the same website with Internet Explorer and with one of the above browsers and hold them side by side, you will be amazed at the difference.

This appeals to me not only as a web user, but also as a web designer. Firefox, Safari (Mac only), Opera, and Google Chrome all display web pages the way I designed them to look.  There can be small variations  between them, but nothing serious enough to lose any sleep over.  Then, there’s IE.  Without getting too technical, I will just say that web browsers read code languages, which they then convert into words, colors, shapes, etc. that display on web pages. A group called the W3C defines and publishes the agreed way to write and interpret these code languages.  If a web designer writes their website code to these W3C standards, 9.9 times out of 10, their website will display perfectly in browsers like Firefox, Safari, Opera, and Chrome.  This is not always the case with Internet Explorer.  It seems that IE interprets some of these properties differently, resulting in an inaccurate, and in the case of this website, totally incorrect display of a website.  What this means to a web designer is we often have to write two sets of code, telling the website to use set A for Internet Explorer and set B for anything else. You may ask, “Why bother?”. The answer is that we must accommodate every user, and since most people still use IE, designers have to cater to browser that is not technically following the rules. Leaving out such a large group could mean losing business, contact with important people, fans, etc.

Now I know that most users don’t want to hear the sob stories of web designers and at the end of the day, don’t care what we had to do to get the website to work, just that it looks the same from every computer that they use.  That is absolutely a fair expectation, and the final choice is certainly up to the user.  And I’m not saying IE is all bad. There are certainly worse things in this world than a mediocre web browser. All I ask is that you try something besides IE.  Some of you might say, “I don’t really care that much” or “I don’t go online enough to go through the trouble of downloading another browser”.  Like I said, the choice is yours, but I think that the sporadic internet user, the hardcore user, and everyone in between could benefit from shopping around a bit.  So, please, check out Firefox, Opera, or Google Chrome. Sure, it makes it easier on us web designers, but you just may find yourself having a markedly better internet experience.

Thanks for reading,
Megan Manning
Media Design Artist, American Autowire