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What?! Me and my browser are the problem?

12 Dec Posted by in Blog, New Release | Comments
What?! Me and my browser are the problem?
 

Like all technology of the last decade, the development of the web has accelerated faster than most users can keep up with. From the humble beginnings of simple text pages view on 56kb dial-up connections, the web has evolved to rich, interactive applications including video and voice and online stores on exponentially faster infrastructure.

In the 1990’s, we were all still watching videos on VHS tapes. Skip a few years (1995) and DVD came to the fore – we adopted this technology quickly, as it enhanced our viewing experience and offered greater interactivity. Nowadays, Blu-ray, 3D, LED and HD are all becoming fast-adopted technologies that are set to shift the standards in TV broadcasting.

A few years back, we were all making calls on brick-sized, indestructible Nokia 5110′s. Nowadays we can’t wait for the newest lovechild of Steve Jobs to be born so that we can multi-touch our retina displays to the latest app download.

So what does this have to do with the web and websites?

In 2001, Microsoft released the Internet Explorer 6 browser shortly after the completion of, the then revolutionary, Windows XP. Since then, other iterations of IE and better, competitor browsers have been released.

Unfortunately, unlike the TV and cell-phone revolution, many of those who used IE6 back in 2001 still use IE6 today… Some have upgraded to newer versions (IE7, IE8), but don’t realize that the technology they’re buying into is still not the best (Firefox, Chrome and Safari).

As the web and web infrastructure gets better and more feature rich, many of the older browsers cannot run these new features effectively. To put it bluntly, using an older browser nowadays is kind of like trying to stick a DVD into your VHS recorder…

In February 2010, Google Apps senior product manager, Rajen Sheth, announced that Google would no longer support older browsers like IE6. Just weeks earlier, Facebook prompted IE6 users to upgrade, stating that they no longer support older browsers.

So what should you expect from your website?

Though web design professionals make every reasonable effort to ensure that their websites look the same across most web browsers, the presentational layer of websites do vary from browser to browser. At UntangleMyWeb, we try to create a consistent experience for every user in most browsers, but it is our belief that a “near-exact” experience is a more attainable goal than “exact”.

To support all browsers with perfect fidelity is not only unrealistic for most budgets, it also requires many elaborate workarounds and hacks – which are difficult to maintain, upgrade and extend. This also adds extra code weight that ultimately slows your site down.

If you’ve been to one of our workshops, you would have already learnt a little about Content Management Systems and web application technologies.

At UntangleMyWeb, our websites are built using modern, standards compliant HTML and CSS (the code that makes up your website). We design and test for modern, standards compliant browsers accordingly. We focus first on the latest and greatest browsers, and then go back and make sure that older browsers look and work reasonably well. This is the approach that we would encourage you to take with your web developer.

So what can you do to help and experience a better web?

We would encourage you and your company to upgrade your browser to one of the more up-to-date browsers available. You can learn more about web browsers and check what version you’re currently using at http://www.WhatBrowser.org, a site created by Google. Like DVD and smart phones, the sooner people jump to better browsers, the sooner these will become the new standard.

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