Web browser capability fallacy
I'm reading a new web design book ("Hardboiled Web Design" by Andy Clarke) and I found myself getting annoyed by yet another discussion of browser capabilities versus graceful degredation/ progressive enhancement. Most of the chapter was devoted to arguing about browser capabilities shouldn't be determining whether you design a kick-ass site using the latest tech.
They're missing a bigger issue. If I'm using Safari 5 on my 27" work mac, I'm not always using it full screen. Sometimes it is, but frequently it's 50% wide and often it's re-sized to tuck alongside seventy other windows I'm using at once. The design for a full-screen browser+OS combination should allow for shrunken windows. I don't want your fancy drop shadows and swooshiness and parallax alphaing PNG stuff if it's all getting in the way of the content because I'm using a smaller screen. Surely iPhones have taught us to Design for End User Use rather than Design for Awesome. Is it easier to argue against Pixel Perfect Cross Browser rendering when Pixel Perfect SAME Browser Rendering screws up when browser windows are re-sized? You know, because the USER not only wants control of their browser; they HAVE control and resize whenever they darn-well please1. Jeremy Keith is all over this, but I don't think he's broached the argument for using Same Browser Pixel Imperfection as a counter to Cross Browser. He's talking about proportional perfection, but reading between the lines it's all about serving the content in the best way possible to get your message across. Media queries are a great start; I'm wondering what else can be done.
1) Yes, you can try and remove the browser resize chromes for popups - but people can get around that. And bad designer for considering that as a solution; go say seven Hail Mosaics and come back to me.