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SUMMARY:

To view this site as intended we recommend downloading the latest version of one of the following browsers:


This site is encoded using CSS layout techniques.

It appears that this approach is not completely compatible with the browser you are currently using, and consequently the page has "degraded" to a "no-frills" layout to avoid compatibility problems.

The use of CSS-based page layouts was chosen over the more common table-based layout methodology for the following reasons:

  • More accessible – unlike tables-based pages, properly formed CSS layouts are easily read by legacy browsers, as well as disability access technologies (such as screen readers for the vision impaired).
  • Easier to maintain – because form is separated from content in CSS designs, the site can be more easily updated. It also produces efficiencies of scale in large sites with consistent page layouts.
  • More efficient use of bandwidth – individual pages contain terser code, so the overall bandwidth needs of the site are reduced.
  • It is scalable – without the “pixel perfect” positioning of tables-based layout, pages become easily resizable, and will automatically adapt to different user-configured type size settings.
  • Better searching – CSS layouts provide search engines with html files that are easier to parse. Because the html presents content in a way that is more logically structured, it is easier for search engines to determine what a CSS-layout page is actually about. Therefore the pages become easier for users to find.
  • Better printing – using CSS we are able to specify a completely independent design for the web pages when they are printed. These means that the pages will automatically reformat to suit an A4 page, and elements that are meaningless on the printed page (such as navigation buttons and video controls) can be removed.
  • Forwards compatibility – as an emerging official standard, CSS is supported by all new browsers that emerge, and it is expected that its use will soon overtake the older tables-based paradigm. The use of tables to execute page layout, while a common technique, has never been part of any official web design specification, and future technology changes may make many current pages unusable in the future. By using the official HTML specification, we future-proof the site.

Technical Specifications

All pages on Australians At Work have been coded as valid XHTML 1.0 Strict and CSS 2. Where browsers send an http accept header that states they can handle the “application/xhtml+xml” mime type, the pages are served using this mime type in accordance with W3C recommendations. When accessed by older browsers, the page is converted to HTML 4.01 Strict and served as “text/html”.

What browsers are recommended for accessing this site?

To see this site exactly as intended you need a CSS-compliant browser. At this time (2005), Mozilla-based browsers such as FireFox or Camino (Mac OSX only), provide the best support for XHTML and CSS.

Other browsers that provide good XHTML/CSS support include Opera 6, Netscape 7, Safari 1.2 , and Konqueror 3.

Internet Explorer version 6 (and version 5.2 on a Macintosh), provides reasonable CSS support, although there is the odd bug that causes minor display irregularities.

The site has been tested with all of the browsers mentioned, on a variety of operating systems. Older browsers (and special-use browsers such as disability access browsers) will mostly ignore the CSS information and display the pages as plain “no-frills” HTML. Where possible we have tested the site with such browsers to ensure usability.

If I use a different browser do I miss out on anything?

The difference is purely cosmetic. We have carefully coded the page so that all essential content elements can be viewed in any browser.