Troubleshooting Common Browser Compatibility Issues

Child Theming, Extension Development

Last Updated: Time to Read: 8 minutes

While we don’t officially support any third-party plugins or extensions, we do offer some useful advice to help avoid potential issues in your projects.

Some third party software, including Google Maps and Google Custom Search Engine, conflict with the Layers framework CSS due to * { box-sizing: border-box; } a rule which makes it so padding does not affect the final computed width of an element. We do include resets to attempt to deal with this, but depending on the content of your child theme, you may need to expand on those resets. Learn more about box model and sizing at CSS Tricks.

Versions of Internet Explorer prior to 11 are partially supported. Note that WordPress no longer accounts for versions 7-9. Some CSS3 properties and HTML5 elements are not fully supported by these browser versions which will manifest themseves as visual issues in some elements and in WordPress itself. In addition, Internet Explorer 8 requires the use of Respond.js to enable media query support, so be sure to include that and an HTML shiv in your child theme if you want to support those versions.

Feature Internet Explorer 8 Internet Explorer 9
border-radius Not supported Supported
box-shadow Not supported Supported
transform Not supported Supported, with -ms prefix
transition Not supported
placeholder Not supported

Visit Can I use… for details on browser support of CSS3 and HTML5 features.

Internet Explorer 8 and Respond.js

Beware of the following caveats when using Respond.js in your development and production environments for Internet Explorer 8.

Respond.js and cross-domain CSS

Using Respond.js with CSS hosted on a different (sub)domain (for example, on a CDN) requires some additional setup. See the Respond.js docs for details.

Respond.js and file://

Due to browser security rules, Respond.js doesn’t work with pages viewed via the file:// protocol (like when opening a local HTML file). To test responsive features in IE8, view your pages over HTTP(S). See the Respond.js docs for details.

Respond.js and @import

Respond.js doesn’t work with CSS that’s referenced via @import.  For this reason, always use enqueues! See the Respond.js docs for details.

Internet Explorer 8 and box-sizing

IE8 does not fully support box-sizing: border-box; when combined with min-width, max-width, min-height, or max-height. For that reason, as of v3.0.1, we no longer use max-width on .containers.

Internet Explorer 8 and @font-face

IE8 has some issues with @font-face when combined with :before. Layers and FontAwesome use that combination with its icon fonts. If a page is cached, and loaded without the mouse over the window (i.e. hit the refresh button or load something in an iframe) then the page gets rendered before the font loads. Hovering over the page (body) will show some of the icons and hovering over the remaining icons will show those as well.

IE Compatibility modes

Layers is not supported in the old Internet Explorer compatibility modes. To be sure you’re using the latest rendering mode for IE, consider including the appropriate <meta> tag in your pages:


Confirm the document mode by opening the debugging tools: press F12 and check the “Document Mode”.

This tag is included in all of Layers’ documentation and examples to ensure the best rendering possible in each supported version of Internet Explorer.

See this StackOverflow question for more information.

Internet Explorer 10 in Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8

Internet Explorer 10 doesn’t differentiate device width from viewport width, and thus doesn’t properly apply the media queries in Layers’ CSS. Normally you’d just add a quick snippet of CSS to fix this:


However, this doesn’t work for devices running Windows Phone 8 versions older than Update 3 (a.k.a. GDR3), as it causes such devices to show a mostly desktop view instead of narrow “phone” view. To address this, you’ll need to include the following CSS and JavaScript to work around the bug.

In your main stylesheet:

In your theme or plugin js file:


For more information and usage guidelines, read Windows Phone 8 and Device-Width.

The rendering engine of versions of Safari prior to v7.1 for OS X and Safari for iOS v8.0 had some trouble with the number of decimal places used in our .col-*-1 grid classes. So if you had 12 individual grid columns, you’d notice that they came up short compared to other rows of columns. Besides upgrading Safari/iOS, you have some options for workarounds:

  • Add .pull-right to your last grid column  to get the hard-right alignment
  • Tweak your percentages manually to get the perfect rounding for Safari (more difficult than the first option)

We’ll keep an eye on this though and update our code if we have an easy solution.

Don’t forget that many CSS3 properties need their -webkit- equivalents. Example: -webkit-transition

View more Browser Specific Hacks at CSS Tricks

Overflow and scrolling

Support for overflow: hidden on the <body>  element is quite limited in iOS and Android. To that end, when you scroll past the top or bottom of a modal in either of those devices’ browsers, the <body>  content will begin to scroll.

Virtual keyboards

Also, note that if you’re using a fixed navbar or using inputs within a modal, iOS has a rendering bug that doesn’t update the position of fixed elements when the virtual keyboard is triggered. A few workarounds for this include transforming your elements to position: absolute or invoking a timer on focus to try to correct the positioning manually. This is not handled by Layers, so it is up to you to decide which solution is best for your application.

Navbar Dropdowns

The .dropdown-backdrop element isn’t used on iOS in the nav because of the complexity of z-indexing. Thus, to close dropdowns in navbars, you must directly click the dropdown element (or any other element which will fire a click event in iOS).

Page zooming inevitably presents rendering artifacts in some components, both in Layers, WordPress themes and the rest of the web. Depending on the issue, we may be able to fix it (search first and then open an issue if need be). However, we tend to ignore these as they often have no direct solution other than hacky workarounds.

Even in some modern browsers, printing can be quirky.

In particular, as of Chrome v32 and regardless of margin settings, Chrome uses a viewport width significantly narrower than the physical paper size when resolving media queries while printing a webpage. This can result in Layers’s extra-small grid being unexpectedly activated when printing. Suggested workarounds:

  • Embrace the extra-small grid and make sure your page looks acceptable under it.
  • Customize the values of the @screen-* Less variables so that your printer paper is considered larger than extra-small.
  • Add custom media queries to change the grid size breakpoints for print media only.

Also, as of Safari v8.0, fixed-width .containers can cause Safari to use an unusually small font size when printing. One potential workaround for this is adding the following CSS:


Out of the box, Android 4.1 (and even some newer releases apparently) ship with the Browser app as the default web browser of choice (as opposed to Chrome). Unfortunately, the Browser app has lots of bugs and inconsistencies with CSS in general.

Select menus

On &lt;select&gt; elements, the Android stock browser will not display the side controls if there is a border-radius and/or borderapplied. (See this StackOverflow question for details.) Use the snippet of code below to remove the offending CSS and render the&lt;select&gt; as an unstyled element on the Android stock browser. The user agent sniffing avoids interference with Chrome, Safari, and Mozilla browsers.


Want to see an example? Check out this JS Bin demo.

  1. Scaling transforms in Android 2.3 fails to scale element background images.
  2. IE 10 and below do not support CSS transforms on SVG elements (though SVG transform attributes do work).
  3. Transforms may break position:fixed styles of contained elements – use caution when fixing elements in child themes and ensure they work with the default mobile sidebar
  4. In IE9 the caret of a textarea disappears when you use translate.

For Safari, ensure any CSS3 animations use the -webkit- prefix on the property.

For examples see and CSS-Tricks

In order to provide the best possible experience to old and buggy browsers, Layers uses CSS browser hacks in several places to target special CSS to certain browser versions in order to work around bugs in the browsers themselves. These hacks understandably cause CSS validators to complain that they are invalid. In a couple places, we also use bleeding-edge CSS features that aren’t yet fully standardized, but these are used purely for progressive enhancement.

These validation warnings don’t matter in practice since the non-hacky portion of our CSS does fully validate and the hacky portions don’t interfere with the proper functioning of the non-hacky portion, hence why we deliberately ignore these particular warnings.

Our HTML docs likewise have some trivial and inconsequential HTML validation warnings due to our inclusion of a workaround for a certain Firefox bug.