Mozilla has come out and said what many browser developers have been grumbling and complaining about for years: That a high proportion of websites were only designed to work with one specific browser in mind, and that that’s a mistake.
While the modern device and browser landscape presents many challenges, modern tools offer many solutions. More than 3 billion people are out there looking for your site — is it ready for them?
In a Mozilla Hacks blog post this week, a product engineer at Mozilla, Justin Crawford made a passionate and reasoned plea to website developers on the issue of compatibility, citing the fact that millions of websites have compatibility issues with major browsers, that lead to disengagement and lost traffic to websites. But he was also hopeful that the web dev community could fix this, if everyone pursues a more open eyed approach to the web.
“The web has changed immensely in the past 20 years. In 1996 there were roughly a million websites; now there are more than a billion. Back then there were roughly 50 million internet users; today there are more than 3 billion. We have more content than we ever dreamed was possible. People are enjoying it on 8.1 billion connected devices, including more than 24,000 distinct mobile device types.”
To sum up, Crawford argues that if web developers utilise a best practice approach and use modern tools, then everyone, regardless of browser can have a positive online experience.
“Browser use varies by geography. Chrome, Firefox and IE/Edge are the top browsers in many locales, but the proportion of users on each varies. German users favour Firefox over Chrome. IE is big in Japan. Quite a few Australians choose Safari. More than 1 in 5 Vietnamese users run a fork of Chromium called Cốc Cốc. Building and testing on just one browser ignores these market differences.”
Crawford’s main point is the idea that many developers, especially in the western world, suffer from the mistaken belief that the browser they develop a site for, (basically Chrome) is the only one that matters. And Crawford readily admits that he can see why. After all, 70% of web developers use Chrome on their desktop.
“But only about 45% of the general population use Chrome across all device types, and only about 57% of the general population use Chrome on the desktop. Building and testing on Chrome alone ignores almost half of global users.”
In summary, Crawford’s main point is that oranges are not the only fruit, and Chrome is not the only browser, and the web is called the World Wide Web for a reason, so perhaps it’s time that developers started developing their websites for the world.
You can read the original post here.