It's an exciting time in web development. New versions of web browsers come out all of the time, offering web designers tools that never existed in previous versions.
Yet it's always a balancing act. We want to use the latest whiz-bang functionality in our software, but we don't want to alienate customers who still have to use browsers that are a few years old. What is a software company to do?
It's called progressive enhancement.
We design our web-based software to work on browsers as old as Internet Explorer 7, which was released 6 years ago in 2006. Then we juice it up with the latest browser technology. Older browsers get great software that looks good. Newer browsers get a little more, like fancy design elements and animations.
For example, take a look at our login screen in Internet Explorer 7:
It looks good and gets the job done. But, if you view the same screen in a modern web browser, it looks different:
Notice the rounded corners and shadow. It's not significant, but it does look better.
The same progressive enhancements are in the application after login too. Again, here's Internet Explorer 7 (click the image to see the full picture):
And here's a modern browser:
When you mouse over a button, it will highlight with a smooth animation if your browser supports it. There's also the same rounded corners on boxes and buttons. Again, the app looks similar, but you get a few extra goodies if you have a browser that supports it.