Should your website support old browsers?

October 19, 2012

Surfing the web using an old browser can be compared to running a steam engine on the tracks of a bullet train. This will work but it doesn't utilize the speed and security brought about by new technology.

If you are surfing and you come across a page that notifies you to upgrade to a new browser, it means that you are using an old version of your browser. Such browsers cannot load some files, such as images and programming scripts with the same speed as the new browsers.

Popular Browsers

Most internet users prefer using other more updated browsers such as Google Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Chrome Frame and Safari to surf the web since they are much faster and better able to cope with the evolving technological demands.

What's interesting and worth noting is that different websites draw different audiences and use different technology. As a web designer or developer, it is important to check your browser's statistics in order to come up with your own internet audience, but even so, you will realize that all the visitors to your site will be using the four major browsers.

But why stick with old browsers? People have different reasons why they are stuck with older browsers. For instance, corporate users may be stuck with older versions of browsers because of company policy. Use of outdated hardware and versions of operating system software which does not support newer versions of internet browsers is another common reason.

Checking Cross-Browser Compatibility

There are tools that can be used to check cross-browser compatibility easily. All that you need to do is to paste in the URL of the webpage and wait for screenshots from various browsers. An example of such a tool is Adobe's Browser Lab which makes it really easy to check your website in different browsers.

Modern web developers face a big challenge in developing websites that support older or local browsers. This can be a really big problem for a big institution such as a university where all web applications and sites need to be supported by all the computers in that institution. This cannot be achieved if you are dealing with older computers that operate on older versions of browsers such as Internet Explorer. To build incredible user friendly websites, web developers are encouraged to use modern technologies and software such as HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript.

Challenges of Old Browsers

So, the big question still is; should your website support old browsers? As a web developer or designer, it would be appropriate to upgrade to newer versions. These are less susceptible to viruses, malware and other security issues. This is a big concern especially to those people who like shopping online.

Security is one good reason to upgrade to newer versions. The disadvantage with older browsers is that they are slow and have limited display capabilities. Old browsers are greatly challenged, for instance, to show an animation. Additionally, a web developer would need to use an embedded video or complicated programming code. This implies that the webpage will take more time to load; an experience that most internet users hate.

ites with novice web masters, but its not uncommon for plugins and upgrades to cause glitches, which require time consuming repair work.

by on October 19, 2012

e-dimensionz Inc is a web development company based in Kitchener-Waterloo
specializing in custom websites, CMS frameworks, mobile applications, and Open Source technology
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