This month I am going to talk about browsers, the software that you use the internet through and why it is important that website owners as well as digital agencies continue to evolve the internet.
A browser is the software that we often use to access websites on the internet. There are many to choose from and we often use the browser that was supplied with our hardware, be that Internet Explorer or Safari, and many of us use other browsers including Firefox or Chrome.
Over the years usage has very much shifted and now more than 40 per cent of browser use is Chrome, followed by more than 30 per cent Firefox. Internet Explorer is now used much less than it was in the days when Microsoft faced legal battles for monopolising the market.
With technological advancements in hardware and significantly increased line speeds, the things we can do online are advancing rapidly.
Now video can stream seamlessly on website, animation is common and with the growth in phone use the website experience is becoming more and more immersive.
With the changes in technology providing greater options for website owners, it is important that we update our choice of browser to enable us to benefit from the full functionality that modern websites provide.
At Ascensor we spend around 15 per cent of any project compatibility testing new websites against the myriad of current browser (current versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, IE etc), operating system (eg Windows, iOS) and device (PC, tablet, mobile) combinations to make sure that the website performs well on the browsing choice of the website visitor.
As technology changes certain features won’t work on old browser technology, so we spend time creating fall-back positions to provide as much consistency as we can against each combination.
It is very important that website developers begin to phase out older browsers, as this keeps the rate of technological change accessible to all.
At some point, rather than creating the fall-back positions and using website investment to satisfy a minority who have not updated their browsers, it is important to prompt users on older browsers to update to a newer version to fully utilise the website.
An example of this is Internet Explorer 8 that was released in 2009. A lot has changed in the last six years and browsers that were developed back then are simply not capable of running the complex software that make up modern websites.
In January 2016 Microsoft will stop supporting IE8. Google already have, and this is not to force change, it is to keep the quality of technology available to all.
If you are using IE8 or an older browser then why not update it to the latest version? It takes five minutes and you may find that the websites you love are even better when you can see the full features that are now available to you.
• To read more on this and other subjects, please visit the blog at www.ascensor.co.uk/blog.
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• Ascensor are a digital agency providing website design, ecommerce and search engine optimisation.