In 1994, Netscape put up the first fences on the Web in so-called browser wars. In order to attract users, they threw universality to the wind and created a set of extensions to HTML that only Netscape could handle. For example, Web surfers using Netscape could view pages with different size and color text, photographs in JPEG format, background color and images, and in later versions, Multiple pages in a single window, called frames. Surfers with any other browser would get errors and funny looking results. Or nothing at all.
But people liked those extensions so much that they flocked to Netscape. By June of 1996, it had become the most popular computer program in the world with 38 million users.
Microsoft soon joined in, and started putting a fence in its own chunk of the Web. Again, to attract users they added non-standard extensions to HTML that only Internet Explorer, Microsoft's browser, could recognize.
So who do you design for? Netscape, Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Opera or Flock users? It's a designer's nightmare and the web is suffering because of it.