otsukare Thoughts after a day of work

User Agent Sniffing For A Tailored Experience

In a recent article by Simon Bisson, it is mentionned:

Google appears to be using user agent sniffing to deliver different experiences to different browsers — a poor approach to modern web design, especially with the current generation of responsive design frameworks and with modern browser’s support for CSS media queries. Whatever it is, when Google’s mission statement reads that it’s there "to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful", it makes you think that Google may need to take another look at what users consider universal.

This is not new unfortunately. The article is comparing screenshots of Google services in between IE Mobile and Chrome products. You can see that with Firefox OS, Firefox for Android, Opera Mobile, and plenty of other no mainstream browsers. The issue is driven by one simple fact, most of the companies are not developing for the Web, they develop their services for devices. And just because of that, they allocate resources and time in testing those specific devices. The rest of devices when lucky are being delivered an inferior Web site even when they have the capabilities to display everything that the targeted devices display.

The Web industry as large are partly responsible for this. We release in final products features which are not totally finalized and we give the opportunities for Web developers to play (which is good) with shiny new features, but lot less good to release this experimentations of production Web sites.

Living in a bubble doesn't work, even if your bubble is the dominant browser. It's time for the experimental prefixes to go away, and for sites and services to standardise on standards — not on what's cool today. And then we might even get a decent YouTube experience on Windows Phone…

It's time for browser vendors to release vendor specific extension in alpha and beta products only. That would minimize many of the issues. It will not solve everything, but it will help a lot. The issue? Nobody wants to take this step.