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Browser Testing and Compatibility. Why We Care.

Most of us have a favorite browser. One we use on a daily basis and typically never change from. As you go about your day visiting Google, Facebook, YouTube, Yahoo, Amazon, and Twitter, you never realize the amount of effort that goes behind making sure those websites are compatible in every browser. As an agency, we focus heavily on quality assurance and making sure that the delivery of all our work is tested thoroughly in multiple browsers and versions.

Browser compatibility testing is a monumental task. We need to verify the website or application on multiple browsers such as Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, and Safari, as well as on the corresponding sub versions such as Internet Explorer 11, 10, 9, Chrome 36, Chrome 35, etc. That only scratches the surface of the desktop browsers, mobile experiences are as important, if not more, as mobile browsing continues to increase.

So, why we do bother with all of those browsers? Because we aren’t the only ones accessing the website or application. If you are using Chrome or Firefox, you are actually in the minority. Surprisingly enough, Internet Explorer still has the majority of the desktop market share with over 58% according to NetMarketShare.com (I still cringe at this). Though Internet Explorer has been on the decline over the past few years, it still is the most widely used browser. Have a look at the current August 2014 statistics below.

Desktop Market Share - August 2014:

  • Internet Explorer: 58.46%
  • Chrome: 19.61%
  • Firefox: 15.23%
  • Safari: 5.32%

So, why we do bother with all of those browsers? Because we aren’t the only ones accessing the website or application.

Desktop Market Share - August 2014 (By Browser Version)

Microsoft Internet Explorer 8.0 21.40%
Microsoft Internet Explorer 11.0 17.54%
Chrome 36.0 11.05%
Firefox 31 10.51%
Microsoft Internet Explorer 9.0 9.24%
Microsoft Internet Explorer 10.0 6.18%
Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 3.33%
Safari 7.0 2.97%
Chrome 35.0 2.30%
Others < 1%

Source: www.netmarketshare.com - NetMarketShare is one of the top internet market share reporting services.

ADA Website Accessibility Checklist

Older browsers such as Internet Explorer 8 unfortunately do not support some of the newer sets of technologies and code. Does this mean we don’t support the older browsers, or simply don’t include newer technology? The answer to both is, no. We absolutely use new code bases and technologies as this is what the new browsers are demanding and pushing us towards.

The best approach to this is to have a fallback for browsers that don’t support the newer code. For example, if you build a full responsive solutionsee what responsive is, with animated graphing software that is only supported in new browsers, have the graphs be basic or non-animated in older browsers. Though the graphs aren’t as eye catching with animations, you are still fulfilling the visual representation of the data.

Paul St. Amand Jr., Director, Client Services
Meet Paul St. Amand Jr., Director, Client Services

Paul has 13+ years of digital marketing experience and the unique ability to manage large projects while navigating complex technical requirements.

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