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13th January 2014

What browsers do we support?

The short answer:
Internet Explorer 9+, the latest versions of Chrome, Safari, Firefox on Windows and MacOSX, IOS6+ and Android 4+

Yes, yes, we can support IE6/IE7 if your business requires it for an application. We sell this as an add-on service. Why?

The Holy Grail
There is an idea that will never die that websites must conform to every browser available. An admirable pursuit to be sure, but one that could eventually cause your web developer to assume a new identity and set up a new life as a farmer in Kazakhstan.

What does compatibility with every browser mean? Well, there are hundreds of web browsers available to you. Let’s take Firefox as an example. At current time of writing Firefox is in version 25.0.1. Those who are handy with maths can work out how many versions are potentially available. Chrome on Windows is at 31.0.1650.57 m (slightly different numbering system, but you get the idea). Now let’s throw into the mix that Firefox and Chrome have some slight differences on Mac vs Windows in regards to how they render on-screen. An example would be web font rendering in Chrome on Windows by default is not as pretty as it is on a Mac, so you need to package your web fonts up in a particular way.

This is why we only support the latest major version of each browser, as well as IE8+. The cost to try and test every browser iteration would be too much for any web project to bear. The good news is Chrome, Firefox and Safari tend to be very good at keeping their browsers stable. This means sites that render correctly on the latest version are likely to still render correctly on multiple previous versions of the same browser. Further good news is that most of these browsers are equipped with an ‘auto update’ feature, meaning most users are using the latest version.

Getting on a bit
As for Internet Explorer, people often think that compatibility with IE6 and IE7 is a must because there are still many people on old platforms. This was true several years ago, but for security reasons and to keep up with technology, most people have moved on out of necessity. Times are changing. Having reached the ripe old age of 12, IE6 is creaking a little now. HTML5 browsers and devices (such as tablets) are replacing old tech, and older versions of IE are being sent out to pasture.

If you don’t still believe us, here are a few stats about current usage as at November 2013…

Globally:
_ Internet Explorer 6 usage has dropped to BELOW 5%.
_ Internet Explorer 7 usage, is BELOW 2%

In the UK:
_ Internet Explorer 6 usage 0.5%
_ Internet Explorer 7 usage is BELOW 1%

Your audience is unlikely to be using an old browser, and even if they are we have a special tool to display a message explaining to your user that they should upgrade to a more modern, safer, browser to enhance their browsing experience.

Best practice?
Needless to say, unless there is a specific business reason for you to support IE6/7, we recommend you use the latest technology when planning your website build. If you have concerns, try interviewing a selection (say, 10?) of your customers to find out what web applications/versions they’re using which will give you a measurable understanding of their needs.

If you have any questions or comments, please get in touch: [email protected]

Sources:

http://www.modern.ie/en-us/ie6countdown

http://theie7countdown.com/

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