Since 2005, 24 Ways has been a great collection of web design tips & tricks in an “advent” format (i.e., one article per day in December before Christmas). This year already looks like it’s going to be a great one. Drew McLellan has a great opening article on dealing with transparent PNGs in Internet Explorer 6 & 5.5 (yes, many of us do have to factor in those old browsers in our designs).
This comes at a great time: currently we’re working on a site that uses 24-bit PNGs with alpha transparency, and as Drew says, the common solutions to the issue don’t help you when you want to use that type of PNG as a background image. He also mentions that it’s a big problem to use such PNGs behind a form—because of the way IE6 & earlier deals with the PNGs. IE effectively puts another layer on top of the area you’re looking at—meaning that
form inputs are completely inaccessible. This is a problem not simply for forms, but indeed potentially for any design where you’re playing with positioning. For example, we’ve got an organisation’s logo dipping slightly below a masthead, spilling onto the crumbs bar below. Any links that happen to be in that PNG’s area were completely inaccessible, too. Our solution was to set
z-index for both the
#masthead img &
#crumbs. Drew’s solution is better, however—it’s far more set & forget.