- 14th Jan, 2014
Do you remember a time when there were only two web browsers? It’s hard to think back that far isn’t it? Now that there are so many floating around it’s very important that web developers ensure their websites are fully compatible with them all. You would think that opening a website in a web browser would be the same anywhere, but certain browsers use different methods of interpreting the CSS (for the presentation of a website) and HTML (web page markup language), which may affect how they appear on your screen.
For this reason it is vital that the CSS and HTML in the website are tweaked and programmed for every browser out there. This will take a bit of extra work, but it can potentially bring a host of new users to your site.
However, it’s worth bearing in mind the different levels of popularity that each web browser has in the market place. For example, currently it’s estimated that Firefox has around 30% of the entire web browser market, whereas Internet explorer leads with 60%. Chrome and Opera are much lower with around 2 and 3 % respectively. Apple’s installed web browser, Safari, currently accounts for around 5% of the market share.
Internet Explorer has traditionally enjoyed the greatest popularity because it happens to be preinstalled with Windows, but another reason for its popularity might be the ease of use. On a pre-installed copy of windows one would find that Internet Explorer has all of the necessary plugins installed, which means that the browser is ready to go right out of the box. To those who try to switch to Firefox at this point, the browser might actually appear to be broken or poorly thought out when they try to visit a web page and the “Install ActiveX” link is actually an ActiveX application.
In spite of this, Firefox recently reached its One Billionth download and still seems to be going strong. More people than ever are using it, claiming that it’s much better than Internet Explorer in terms of its innovativeness and stability. While this is arguably true, it’s also worth noting that Firefox retains the classic Netscape Communicator look to an extent, meaning that the anti-establishment browser enthusiasts can get their fill of nostalgia whilst congratulating themselves on using free open source software instead of the dominant Microsoft player and its alleged unfair competitiveness.
Recently, there have been issues with certain web pages running properly in Opera, so web developers should remember to make sure that code is cleaned up for the website to run properly in this browser. This can be checked by simply opening up the page in Opera and exploring its presentation and functionality; it doesn’t take much time or effort.
Not only will this help to ensure that a site works properly in every browser, but it will also help site users a great deal, promoting their confidence in using and returning to the site. No one wants to see a broken webpage or try to use one. So if you can ensure that the website is optimised for other browsers, then by all means, do it.