Here’s where I run into clients experiencing some real problems. They log into their administration panel and start to work but things aren’t working like I said they should. When this happens, they get frustrated and I receive panic-stricken emails from them that go something like this: “I can’t do this!” or “Something’s wrong!”
Let me start by saying that different Internet browsers not only work differently, call features by different names (example Favorites and Bookmarks mean the same thing), but can cause you to have difficulties when working on your site. For the life of me, I can’t understand why in this day and age and with the availability of other free-standing much better browsers that some people still use the AOL service browser. This browser can wreak some real havoc not only as you attempt to work in it, but viewing a site in the AOL browser may make your site look absolutely horrendous!
Did you know that the AOL browser is not really the AOL browser but instead (last I knew) – they were using an old outdated version of the Microsoft Internet Explorer browser that they modified and simply just re-branded as their own and incorporated it into their online services? In order to make it faster they use what’s called ” image compression” which is to compress the images so that they load faster. When you compress images you can wind up with some pretty unpredictable and ugly results displayed on your website. Don’t let the words “image optimization” fool you. There is image optimization and then there’s image optimization by way of compression. I shudder when someone tells a web designer that they use the AOL browser because obviously they’ll want their site to look good in it. Not only do I not want to have to go through the additional technical, frustrating and time consuming work to try to accomplish this, but it will cost the client quite a bit of additional money to make happen.
Trouble in Your Admin Panel
If you find yourself having difficulty making things work in your admin panel — even if you feel you’re understanding the instructions completely and following them exactly as they’re written — the first troubleshooting step you need to take is to try again using a different browser. Do this before contacting your designer and you may just solve your own problems within minutes by simply switching the browser you’re using. I’ve had clients contact me telling me that this or that isn’t working and when I try it myself it works just as it’s supposed to. One of the most common reason things don’t work right lies in the browser being used.
You Don’t HAVE to Use the Default Browser
Some people are under the assumption that they must use the browser that came pre-installed on their computer. Eh — WRONG ANSWER! Currently, I have five different browsers installed on my own computer and the one I currently use for website development purposes is Firefox. The other ones are used only for checking the websites I develop to make sure a site looks the same (or close to the same) in each one. Just an FYI in case you didn’t know, your website may look different depending on which browser a site visitor is viewing it in. There are just way to many variables and inconsistencies within the individual browsers and on the end-user side to make a site look exactly the same in each and every browser out there. The goal web designers shoot for is to make it come as close and look as good as possible, although there may be some insignificant differences. This is known as part of “cross browser compatibility” and shouldn’t alarm you in any way.
In order for you to take the first troubleshooting step, all you need to do is download and install another browser and then attempt the same instructions using it instead of the one you were using. If you’re still having trouble, then by all means do contact your designer.
There are others but two popular alternative browsers you may wish to try are Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome. Note that these are PC browsers, if you’re on a Mac please consult with a Mac resource for alternative browsers. Also, please understand that when you login to your admin panel when using an alternative browser, things may look slightly different. Take a few minutes to look around before panicking and contacting your designer. All the options will be there — the admin interface just may not look quite the same as the screen shot images that you see displayed within some of my tutorials.