Why Digital Media News

Help a designer - upgrade to a modern browser.

The internet is ready for a revolution. A huge shift in the way we interact with content and experience the web is just around the corner but one thing is holding it back. The web browser. The piece of software that provides a window into the internet is the very thing that limits the users ability to take advantage of the amazing new features HTML5 and CSS 3 are bringing to the web.

It can be a pain keeping all your software up to date. But one area where it is really worth making the effort is your web browser. 

An estimated 80% of web users are using an out of date browser, meaning that they aren't taking full advantage of the rich content the internet has to offer. Maybe you aren't interested in the fancy new features of the modern internet. Maybe you are quite happy with the internet you know and love. But wouldn't you prefer it if the websites you visit every day loaded faster? Wouldn't you like to be protected from viruses, phishing scams and other internet nastiness automatically without even having to think about it? How about tabs so that you can have more than one website open at a time without cluttering up your screen with lots of browser windows? Or how about being able to watch videos without installing third-party plugins? Wouldn't that be lovely?!

Ok, it's time to be honest. My motives are entirely selfish. The fact is that because so many users are still using out of date browsers, adoption of the new features available in HTML 5 and CSS3 and there use in the sites I use regularly is much slower than it should be. It also means that as a web designer, I am unable to use many of the great new features in real world websites because they aren't supported by the majority of users browsers. 

But that's not the only reason. Ask any web designer what the most frustrating thing is about designing and building websites and the answer will be almost universal; Internet Explorer. It's estimated that between 20 and 30% of web development time is spent accounting for Internet Explorer's many quirks, bugs, security issues and poor implementation of the HTML and CSS web standards. Just think how many thousands or even millions of hours of development time are wasted every year. This has financial implications for all designers and web users.

Although it has dropped dramatically in recent years, IE still commands an estimated  40+% share of the market. This huge market share means that the least standards compliant browser is still the most popular browser in the world.

Internet Explorer 9, the most recent version as of writing, is by far the best version yet when it comes to following the standards set out by the W3C, but it's still not great and doesn't yet support many CSS 3 and HTML5 features.

As your good deed for the day, and for the psychological well being of your friendly neighbourhood designer, upgrade to a modern browser such as Firefox 7, Chrome, Safari or even Internet Explorer 9. And your good deed for tomorrow? Encourage a friend to do the same.