What is Cross Browser Compatibility and Why is it Important?

“Cross browser compatibility” is a very simple, but important, concept when it comes to web development. Essentially, “cross browser compatibility” is the practice of making sure websites have a consistent and working browsing experience across all web browsers.

These days, people view websites on their computers, phones, tablets, TVs, and other devices. Each one of these devices have different operating systems with different web browsers. All of these factors mean that a website doesn’t look exactly the same on all devices – and that’s a good thing since there are so many different screen sizes in use.

Keeping Up with New Technology

On the surface, keeping websites consistent across all major browsers may seem like a simple no-brainer, but unfortunately due to the quickly changing nature of the internet, sometimes it can get complex. While websites tend to work out of the gate on most modern browsers, often older web browsers can throw a huge monkeywrench into the mix.

Thanks to the ever improving capabilities of web browsers, web developers can take advantage of newly developed techniques to make awesome websites. Remember how websites looked back in the 90s or even 2000s? Back then, that was often the best web developers and web designers could do thanks to the limitations of web browsers.

Older browsers simply cannot do things that new browsers can. An easy example is a technique called “media-queries.” This is a relatively new capability that many websites use to deliver mobile friendly websites. Media queries allow web developers to detect the size of the browser window and alter the look of the website based on the browser size. Older browsers, like Internet Explorer 8, do not support media queries; which means browsing a site that uses media queries can often be an inconsistent experience for those old browsers.

Web developers are often faced with a dilemma: do I stick with the old techniques so web users on old browsers have a consistent browsing experience, or do I give visitors on older browsers a sub-par browsing experience to give people on newer browsers an even better browsing experience? Web developers always struggle with this dilemma; trying to study web browser market share and analyze how a certain new technology would be used on a website.

Eventually a line needs to be drawn in the sand and old browsers must be abandoned so 95+% of a website’s visitors can have an enhanced browsing experience.

What Browsers Vuepoint Supports

At Vuepoint Creative, we are constantly analysing browser usage statistics and new browser capabilities. This allows us to stay on the forefront of web techniques to provide our clients with the best websites possible.

We currently support all major releases of all popular web browsers. For your information, IE8 is not popular…

Why We’ve Dropped Internet Explorer 8

Vuepoint Creative has recently dropped support for Internet Explorer 8. This was a tough decision, but a necessary one. With a 6% market share (and dropping quickly), this 5 year old web browser simply lacks many very important capabilities that hold back the websites we make, which does a great disservice to visitors using modern browsers. Extra development time dealing with this very old web browser either increases the cost of designing and developing a web site, or forces us to cut out features in order to work with budgets.

Vuepoint Creative isn’t alone in dropping support for Internet Explorer 8. Google dropped support for IE8 in 2012 and support for IE9 in late 2013. Microsoft dropped support for Windows XP in early 2014, which is the operating system that makes up most of the IE8 market share.

It’s time to move on from (very) old technology and embrace an ever evolving web.