CSS to the Rescue! Episode 7: Meet the Browsers – Conversion Wednesday

By Dan G


Today we are “Meeting the Browsers”. Whenever you are making CSS changes to your site I’m sure you have noticed the slight differences in the way your site looks depending on which browser you are viewing your site in. So this blog should help provide some incite into why this is true and which browsers actually have the usage to warrant a fine tooth comb when it comes to CSS changes. So lets jump right into it. Here is a list of some of the most popular internet browsers used today:

Internet Explorer is probably the best-known browser that exists today. Mainly because it is the default browser for every Microsoft Operating System which is on most PCs. Many would argue that it is FAR from being the best browser. Especially its earliest version still in use today, IE6, which was originally released in 1995. There are 4 versions of this bowser still in use today: IE6, IE7, IE8, and most-recently IE9.

Firefox is a web browser based on code from the open-source Mozilla Project. It was originally release in 2004 and is one of the most popular browsers in use today and is available for Mac or Windows. Firfox is one of the most stardards-complian browsers available and a lot of people like this browser for its numerous “addons” that can be added to enhance their browsing experience.

Apple Safari is the default web browser for Mac Systems. Safari is best known for its sleek design and simplicity and is available for Mac or Windows. It is built using the Webkit Engine.

Google Chrome is the newest kid on the block. It is an open-source web browser developed by Google, released in 2008 for Mac or Windows, and was also built using the Webkit Engine.

One other browser worth mentioning is the Opera Browser. Which is most notably used by Nintendo Wii console owners today. This browser started out as a research project for a Norway Telecom company, Telenor in 1994. This browser is known for its performance, stardards compliance and small size.

In the next few slides we’ll take a look at the usage statistics for each of these browsers.

According to w3schools.com’s browser statistics IE’s overall usage has declined by about 10% since last year. IE9 looks like it paired off some of IE8’s traffic since its release. IE8 has increased its usage most probably by upgrades from IE7. IE7’s usage has been declining by about 6% a year. And IE6’s usage has lost almost 7% of its usage from last year.

Bottom Line, IE still holds about a quarter of all browser usage, and therefore cannot be entirely overlooked on the CSS front. Although IE6’s usage is declining everyday, and many CSS developers would like to see that browser version drop off the face of the map, many still have to cater to its CSS needs on a case-by-case basis.

According to w3schools.com’s Firefox browser statistics Firefox’s overall usage has declined by about 4% since last year. Firefox 3.6 holds the bulk of that usage and Firefox 4.0 has been increasing usage slightly since its release last July. Firefox versions 3.0 and below account for less than 2% of the traffic making CSS needs for those Firefox version pretty much irrelevant for those versions. Of course you’ll want to look at your site’s statistics to make your own decisions… Over all though, Firefox stands at just over 40% usage which is a pretty big piece of the pie.

According to w3schools.com’s Safari & Chrome browser statistics Safari has an overall 4% of total usage on their site, placing this browser’s CSS issues on a Case-by-Case basis. As for Google Chrome, this browser’s usage has shot up to almost a quarter of total site usage! And since chrome automatically upgrades its browser version, CSS checking in multiple versions of Google Chrome is not an issue.

Last, but not least, although its close, we have Opera. According to w3schools.com’s usage analytics Opera has remained steady with just over 2 percent of the traffic for the last 2 years. Many CSS developers would rarely bother with CSS issues on a site with that percentage of usage. Again though, you might want to deal with CSS Issues for this browser on a case-by-case basis.

So there you have it. Those are some good examples of the browser usage you might be seeing on your site and an overview of some trends that are happening in the browser world. Are you considering changing the main browser you use now? Are you curious what the usage analytics are on your site? If you don’t have the time or effort to put into researching these analytics or quality checking every page of your site for cross-browser issues on your site. Consider asking us to help you with these changes! We can comb your site and pick out all of the major outlying issues. Repair them with specific tests for your site, and then procure and analyze the change’s overall effect, and present you with the winning changes. It’s that easy!