CSS 3 – The Waiting Game

For many designers and developers, CSS 3 support cannot come soon enough. The new features announced sound and look great in general. Many of the functions will make designers lives much easier.

With new features like

  • Border Radius
  • Border Image
  • Ability to add fonts via the web (user doesn’t have to have font installed on their system)
  • Text Shadows
  • Multiple Backgrounds
  • and many more…

The question with all of this however, is when will it be safe to really use the CSS3 exclusive functions on a webpage without a fallback for older browsers. With Browsers just beginning to support CSS3 (Firefox 3.1, Safari 4 are known to handle CSS3) how long will it take IE8 (or 9 if Internet Explorer really wants to tick off designers) to be out of beta and released. After that it’ll have to be another few years for all windows users to upgrade to IE8. To make a long story short, while CSS3 is here and teasing us, the reality is we can’t design exclusively for it until at least 3 years, probably longer. I still have 6% of users on my sites on IE 6.0 or older.

This doesn’t mean we can’t use these cool new functions, it just means that sites shouldn’t be built for only CSS3 browsers. Sites that can degrade well will make everyone happy. It’s not wrong to design with new features for people using new browsers, the problem is if you rely only on them, and not understand that there are many people on older machines that do not update their browsers as regularly as many of us.