Much careful thought went into the design of the Healing Hands web site. For the benefit of those who are interested in the philosophy behind the design of this site, we offer the following overview.

Two problems that all web site designers must come to terms with are cross-browser compatibility and web page accessibility. The latter of these is addressed in a separate essay on the accessibility page.

The issue of cross-browser compatibility is a thorny one. Essentially, the problem is that code that works perfectly well on one browser may work poorly or not at all on another. Most of us have had the experience of visiting a site that simply didn't work on our browser/version/computer. It's a bothersome problem, and an endless source of frustration for both web surfers and web site developers.

One solution is to use only very basic code and hope for the best. But this prevents the use of many items that might otherwise enhance the user's experience. Another solution, and a more common one, is to design for the most popular browsers and, again, hope for the best. In our opinion, this is even less desireable. We consider statements such as "Best viewed at 800x600 on Netscape 4" to be unprofessional. This type of coding makes life easier for the designer, but does so by transferring the problem to the user. Not a good way to build web sites.

A way out of this mess is being paved, we hope, by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), among others. The solution is simple: standardized code and browsers that adhere to the standard. Unfortunately, such solutions are still years away from becoming a reality. True, HTML 4.0, Cascading Style Sheets 2, and even more advanced technologies like XML/XSL are either here already or will be shortly. But as long as a large number of "legacy" browsers exist, site designers will have to account for their use.

In building the Healing Hands web site, we took advantage of the benefits of the latest technologies wherever possible (HTML 4.0, CSS2, etc.) to ensure forward-compatibility. But we went one step further: we designed the site to be a smart site. That is, we used a technology called Cold Fusion to create the site dynamically for each individual user.

It works like this: When a web surfer, like you, comes to the Healing Hands site, your request for one of our pages is intercepted by the Cold Fusion server. By looking at the information that your computer sent us, we determine what browser and version you are using. We then set more than forty different parameters to tell the server exactly how to build your pages. Some of these depend only on your browser's capabilities, others can be set by you. And, if you will accept a cookie, our server will remember your settings the next time you return and give you the same version you requested during your previous visit.

For more information, read our accessibility page. You may also email the site designer at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .