Your Website Might be Incompatible with Internet Explorer 7 (and It Should Be)
BY Jason Bland STAFF CONTRIBUTOR
Relatively small computers were becoming common place in the 80’s but it wasn’t until the 90’s that the Internet was readily available and affordable for the common user. To use the Internet, you could not merely plugin the phone line and start surfing, you had to access the Internet via a web browser. In 1990, Sir Tim Berners-Lee invented WorldWideWeb, (not to be confused with “The” world wide web) which was the worlds first web browser. In 1993, Marc Andreessen invented Mosaic which was the first graphics friendly web browser. Mosaic became Netscape which enjoyed a few years of popularity until Microsoft started bundling Internet Explorer with their Windows operating system in 1995.
By 2002, Internet Explorer enjoyed 95% usage among all Internet users. Microsoft then marched along a dilatory path of non-progression until Mozilla FireFox started gaining traction in 2004. Internet Explorer’s dominance has dwindled as other browsers adopted standards for rendering code. FireFox and Google Chrome follow similar standards, thus a website will generally look the same whether opened in either browser. Internet Explorer 8 and 9 also adopted most of these standards. For the most part, websites are rendered in a fairly consistent manner for the web browsing public to enjoy. In 2006 (two years before Google Chrome was released) Microsoft launched Internet Explorer 7. Websites become more advanced, more dynamic and more interactive. Internet Explorer 7 is simply incapable of handling programming features that were not widely used when originally released.
If your website was developed within the last couple of years, it probably should not be compatible with Internet Explorer 7. Programmers generally use the latest programming styles and languages so that the website is able to perform on as many platforms as possible. Also, a forward thinking programmer will want to avoid fixing a website in the future should it be incompatible with a future browser version. Unfortunately, some people are still running Internet Explorer 7 on their computers and often experience bugs and glitches when using modern web applications and sites.
According to W3Schools.com, the collective versions of Internet Explorer account for 18% of web traffic. FireFox accounts for 35%, Chrome 39%, Safari 4%, and Opera 2%.
Within the group of Internet Explorer users, 0.6% use IE 6, 2% use IE 7, almost 9% use IE 8, 6.5% use IE 9, and a fraction of a percent (less than 0.01), are beta testing Internet Explorer 10.
To make a modern website function normally on Internet Explorer 7, a programmer has to install a series of hacks and patches and use out of date coding. This tends to slow down the website’s performance for the 98% who have decided to upgrade their web browsers over the last three congressional terms.
Your law firm’s website is a big investment and you want it to be compatible with as many users as possible. But somewhere on the web, someone may be using the Netscape browser, Internet Explorer 5.5, or even a green screened Palm Pilot. That does not mean you should clutter your website with obsolete programming to cater to these old programs and devices.
Internet Explorer 7 users are going to be faced with other challenges as Google, YouTube, Facebook, and many other popular websites have already vowed to stop supporting the browser. If you are still a loyal IE 7 user, take a few moments to upgrade your internet experience.