3 Cures for Bad Web Design

3 Cures for Bad Web Design

On the whole, Web designers and programmers are a hard-working, industrious bunch, but some seemed determined to make Web browsing as difficult as possible. When you spend a lot of time online, bad design and poor programming can start to seem like an epidemic. Here we’ve diagnosed three of the epidemic’s most persistent symptoms, and provided cures.


Symptom: A Site Requires Internet Explorer 6 or Better


Cure: Spoof IE in Safari

It’s not as common as it once was, but now and again we still come across sites that require Internet Explorer 6. The worst of these won’t even let other browsers in the door. Instead, enterprising Mac users see only a notice telling them to come back with a PC.

Fortunately, you can usually sneak past these blocks by disguising Safari as IE. The key to doing so lies inside Safari’s Debug menu. The menu is hidden by default, but it’s easy to reveal. Launch the Terminal (/Applications/Utilities), type defaults write com.apple.Safari IncludeDebugMenu 1, and press Return. The next time you launch Safari, select Debug > User Agent > Windows MSIE 6.0. Safari will then identify itself as IE6 to any website that asks. If the site’s architect used any IE-only code (ActiveX, anyone?), things may not work correctly, but at least you can get your foot in the door.


Safari swaps identities faster than a secret agent once you’ve enabled the mighty Debug menu.


As an alternative, you can install a Safari plug-in called Safari Enhancer (donationware), which makes it easier to activate the Debug menu so that you can trick any website into thinking you’re using IE when you’re really surfing Safari. Once you download and launch Safari Enhancer, you can select which browser you would like websites to think you’re using under the Function tab. In the drop-down menu under “Safari should identify to websites as,” select Internet Explorer 6 (Windows).


Safari Enhancer also bumps up the font size in the bookmarks sidebar, lets you specify the search engine used in the search bar, and more.







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