Is Web Browser Compatibility Important?

Posted Friday, 18 September 2009 at 00:23 by Andrew Liu
Tagged: mozilla firefox | google chrome | internet explorer | safari
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Can you remember when there were essentially only two web browsers? Nowadays, there are several web browsers available and as a result, it has become crucial for website owners and developers to ensure that their websites are compatible with all the browsers.

Let's face it; in this day and age one would think that you could open a website with any browser but unfortunately different browsers interpret HTML and CSS in different ways, which of course has an impact on how things are viewed on your monitor. Because of this, it's crucial that the CSS and HTML of a website are optimised and programmed to be compatible with all the available web browsers.

While this certainly does require considerably more work, it can essentially result in your website getting a number of new users. Furthermore, one should also bear in mind that certain browsers are more popular than others.

Firefox for example now has approximately 30% of the browser market while Internet Explorer still continues to be the leader with approximately 60% (although statistics suggest this varies in different countries). Safari accounts for approx 5% of the market while Google Chrome and Opera currently have more or less two to three percent of the market but this is only to be expected considering they're still relatively new in the game. One of the main reasons why Internet Explorer has managed to dominate the market for so long, is because it comes preinstalled with the Windows operating system. However, its ease of use has also helped to ensure it retains the top spot.

Of course, computers which run on the Windows operating system will in most cases already have all the necessary plug-ins installed so that the browser is ready to use immediately. Computer owners who decide to switch over to Firefox can sometimes wonder if the browser is working properly. For example, if you have just switched over to Firefox and you visit certain sites, you may be prompted to download an ActiveX application. However, even though some people may find this to be an inconvenience, Firefox has just recently celebrated their 1 billionth download and there are no signs to suggest this trend is changing.

In fact, the number of people using Firefox continues to increase by the day with many believing it to be better than Internet Explorer, largely because of its noticeable stability. Even though this may be true to a certain extent, it's also worth noting that Firefox has gone to great lengths in order to retain the old Netscape Communicator appearance and this of course is something which appeals to those looking for a little nostalgia.

The Opera web browser is also enjoying increasing popularity although it has been experiencing certain issues lately regarding various web pages. As a result, website owners and developers need to make an effort in order to make their code compatible, so that this browser can function as it should. In order to determine whether or not this browser is compatible with your website, you can simply use the browser to access your site so that you can see for yourself how things appear on your monitor.

 

Not only should you do this in order to ensure your site is compatible with all browsers, but you'll also be doing the wider community a favour, in that nobody enjoys wasting their time by visiting a web site which, because of their browser, fails to open properly.

 

The bottom line is, if you're able to ensure your website is compatible with all browsers then you really need to do so.

 

Source: Site Reference Newsletter 15/09/2009

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