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Cross browser compatibility


squigs
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So here we are entering the latter part of 2012, HTML5 is on the rise and the most popular browser creators have given their heads a shake and are now coming together to (more or less) standardize HTML/CSS to the relief of web designers and programmers.

 

With that said, we are still in the midst of the transition period so I would like to poll the community and ask which browsers across which platforms should web designers be targeting to achieve proper displays and functions?

 

The question arose for me after I decided it was time to do a broader test on my own current site. I typically have the latest of the big three installed for local testing purposes, those being Firefox, Chrome and IE. I also have Safari installed and check on the ipad and iphone from time to time. I figured I would take it a step further and google cross browser testing and came up with a couple free solutions online.

 

In running these tests I found out a couple of things. There are many more browsers available than I had anticipated and for the most part my site quite consistent across most with a few exceptions.

 

So I'll turn it over to this community to get your thoughts on which browsers are a must for considerations and where to draw the line when looking at backwards compatibility.

 

Cheers

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Foremost, you can't expect / depend on users to update their browsers.  This really only affects IE, as they've not had silent / auto updates until recently, so you have to make the conscious decision whether or not to support the older versions.  There are a shit-ton of other browsers out there, but if they're relevant at all, they use either the GECKO or webkit engines, which means they're (typically) up-to-date.  People who use these off-shoot browsers typically understand the potential drawbacks anyway. 

 

Where to draw the line really depends on your target audience.  If you're running a site like AARP you might want to include IE6 compat, whereas if you're running a site targeted to Internet aficionados, you can skip that shit all-together.

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Where to draw the line really depends on your target audience. 

I don't claim to be a professional by any stretch, my target audience generally would be a local one. From what I see looking at the stats only about 0.6% of Canadians still use ie6 so that's one I would ignore completely. (My current site looks like shit on it anyways) But I may have to look deeper into fixing things up for ie7 because it renders much in the same way as 6 did.

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I just looked at my google analytics and ie is 43% of my visitors, of those ie users 0.22% use ie6 and 9% of that 43% use ie7.

 

Safari is 21% of the total and Firefox is 12% of total

 

Thanks for the input! 9% is still a large number of people using ie7 although I have to wonder, if a user is using an out of date browser how likely is it that  they would be shopping for goods/services online vs. checking emails and updating themselves on daily news etc.

 

I can't help but think it could be an older population that is stuck on older browsers as they are less tech savvy and less likely to want the latest/greatest. Of course that is just a generalization but if it were to bear any truth to it the methods used to design a website relies heavily on the audience you are targeting.

 

I wonder what the web analytics would look like for a site like php freaks.

 

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Thanks for the input! 9% is still a large number of people using ie7 ...

 

IE's compatibility mode takes care of that. As a double check you can use a service like IE Tester to test for 6 & 7. As far as IE's compatibility mode goes it does not check for ie6.

 

Also someone knows phpfeaks g.. analytics numbers, they do use it.

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I just looked at my google analytics and ie is 43% of my visitors, of those ie users 0.22% use ie6 and 9% of that 43% use ie7.

Is that 9% of the 43% as in if you had 100 users, that's 9 users or if you had 100 users that'd be ~4 users?

 

Once any browser hits single digit percentages, I typically don't fully support them if they are an older version. E.g. once IE7 hits below 10%, I'm done with it. I'll make sure it isn't completely broken, but minor issues will be ignored.

 

IE's compatibility mode takes care of that. As a double check you can use a service like IE Tester to test for 6 & 7. As far as IE's compatibility mode goes it does not check for ie6.

While the compatibility mode does render it as IE7/8, it's not foolproof. There are still quirks unfortunately. But yes, do try out the different services out there.

 

I wonder what the web analytics would look like for a site like php freaks.

While I cannot given out specifics... let me put it this way. We have a target audience that is different than most sites (those that know computers better.) Chrome + Firefox combined are roughly 80% of our traffic. You can see that varies greatly from what floridaflatlander was seeing ;)

 

As a web analytics developer, I can tell you no site will be the same. If you have an existing site, make sure you have analytics on it and use your own data. If you don't have a site up yet, know your target audience. Is it going to be older people who may not know computers? Or will it be college kids who might know a little more?

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