Browser Wars: Why Your New Website Must Look Good in All Browsers

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If you are designing a website, you want to make sure is looks good regardless of what browser someone is using to surf online. This has become increasingly important as the number of browsers has multiplied and their market share has shifted dramatically in recent years. When developing websites at PaperStreet, we test your new website on each browser to ensure each user is having the same, quality experience. Make sure whatever web design team you choose is up to date on the latest usage trends.

Big Shifts in Browser Usage

During the month of June 2011, Google’s Chrome internet browser took over 20% of the global market for the first time. This marks incredible progress for Google’s browser, first released publically in December 2008. Two years ago, it shared less than 3% of the market. In the same time period since June 2009, Microsoft’s top-ranked Internet Explorer has fallen from 59% to 43%.

StatCounter,a free website analytics company, tracks month-by-month statistics of what browsers are being used to view the World Wide Web. There are three main browsers people use: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome. Other browsers such as Apple Safari and Opera share a very small share of the market, about 2 to 5% each.

In Search of a Better Browser

Internet Explorer gained its dominance of the browser market during the late ’90s and throughout the start of the new century as Microsoft released the browser as part of its Windows operating system. With Internet Explorer set up as the default browser on millions of new computers, many new users were locked into IE. In recent years, people have been seeking third-party alternatives, which increased Firefox above 30% at one point and has put Chrome in a close battle for second place.

With newer versions released constantly, the old browsers fall behind the new technologies and fail to display the site properly. Internet Explorer 6 for example, released with Windows XP operating system in August 2001, has been active for over 10 years. Could you imagine using a cell phone you purchased 10 years ago? To keep pace, Internet Explorer 9 was released in March 2011. This greatly improved old standards and browsing features.

Mobile Browsers, The Next Frontier

Aside from the big three computer browsers, mobile phone browsers make up a small but important share of the market, about 3 to 5% and growing fast. With iPhones and Android smartphones filling the airwaves, people are using their phones to interact with social media and publish website content with their data plans on the go. Optimizing your website for the smaller mobile phone browser is key to spreading your message across all platforms. In the upcoming years, the mobile market will expand exponentially as the world goes portable and tablets become increasingly popular.

Which Browser Should You Use?

In the end, whatever browser you chose to surf the web on is a matter of personal preference. If you’ve been using IE since 6.0, maybe it’s time to check out the other available options and the different features each offers. Firefox has great plug-ins and community support, while Chrome is faster and has better performance. Even Opera, which was first released in 1996, is a stable browser that 2% of the market uses. If you’re using IE, try out Firefox. If you’re using Firefox, try out Chrome and Safari. Regardless of what you choose, the most important thing to remember is to update it to the latest version. As mentioned previously, it’s hard to use a cell phone from 2001, and it’s even harder to visit your favorite website on a browser from then.

To download each browser, please click the respective links below:

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