Use CSS3 Now!

by Tom Kenny (@tkenny)

I posted a quick tutorial yesterday showing how to use a simple CSS3 technique to spin some icons on hover. I’ve posted CSS3 tutorials before but all of a sudden this latest one has already received a few negative comments complaining that they can’t use CSS3 yet. Of course you can! Get over the way you used to do things, move with the times and embrace the new hotness right now. Today.

Here are two of the most negative comments:

Demonstrations of CSS3 are lame. What, 10% of the internet uses a browser capable of showing this stuff. What a waste of time.

That’s a pretty slick trick! I just wish I could use it now and not have to wait 3 years for the general public to catch up with their browser updates…

I work on corporate websites in my full time job and I use CSS3 all the time. In fact I’m using that spinning icon technique in a site redesign I’m working on at the moment and their usage stats show IE at 67.1% for the last month. However, that number is trending down and usage stats for other browsers are increasing including Chrome, Safari and Firefox. This is not unique to this one site. Every corporate site I’ve checked is showing same characteristics with their users. Chances are, if this is happening in the corporate world, the stats will look even better in other industries.

It’s true, visitors with current versions of IE won’t see the example used in my tutorial but with good use of CSS3 you can enhance interaction for users of newer browsers and people who are upgrading. Browser usage is trending towards newer browsers if you look at the stats. For example, a year from now people who had older browsers and have upgraded their browser (or been upgraded by someone else) will start to notice these enhancements possibly giving them a sense of discovery. They may even notice them more than someone who hasn’t upgraded because they saw it IE first (still fully accessible of course) and then saw it in a modern browser. Certainly not a bad thing.

However, the average visitor who still uses older browsers will still see a fully accessible version of your site and they won’t check sites in multiple browsers to see what the differences are. That just doesn’t happen outside of the web design and development community. In the case of the tutorial in question, everything looks the same initially, so everyone is still getting the same access to content, just the interaction has been enhanced for more recent browsers. That’s the key. As long as everything is still accessible, start embracing CSS3 or you’ll get left behind.

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by Tom Kenny

I’m a freelance web designer and front-end developer with over 7 years of experience designing for the web. Follow me on Twitter here.