Browser Choice is Very Important

Knowing all about web browsers, how they work and how people use them is an essential skill for a Nottingham web designer. Designers for other types of media only need to worry about how their design will look on the intended output such as a brochure or leaflet. The layout and look that a web designer comes up with must be tested against many different types of media. All the browsers used by the PC and Mac and these days all the additional browsers used by handheld devices. It is something which your web designer must get right and although it seems difficult, it is much easier these days than in the past.

I Hate Netscape Navigator!

In the early days of the Internet, two web browsers dominated the market. At first it was Netscape Navigator which was very quickly overtaken by Internet Explorer. I remember in those days I would design a website using Internet Explorer and then try it is Netscape Navigator and everything would look completely different. I had to design a website at least three times. Once for Internet Explorer, again for Netscape Navigator and thirdly I had to employ all sorts of hacks and tricks to get it to work equally well in both browsers.

Fortunately, with the advent of most browser creators wanting to follow the W3C's guidelines for HTML, their interpretation of design has converged in the main and as long as a web designer sticks to the main rules, compatibility across all modern web browsers is relatively straightforward.

But what it the right choice for you? Everyone has their own opinions on this so a straight answer is difficult to give. Here are my opinions on the most popular browsers based on my many years of experience as a Web Designer.

Internet Explorer

The popularity of Internet Explorer has, in my opinion, less to do with its merits as a web browser and more to do with the fact the most PCs come with it pre-installed. At the time of writing the latest version is 9 and I must say that this is far and away the best incarnation of this browser. If you have this version then I would say what you have is fine and there is not much to gain using other browsers. However, not everyone likes Microsoft so I will talk about the other browsers as well.

The only other thing I would say is that if you are still using WIndows XP (and many of you are) then you will get a much better experience in using another browser as you are limited to version 8 which misses out on many of the capabilities afforded by the the latest design standards.

Firefox

This browser was like a breath of fresh air when it came out. It used the latest standards and worked very well. It also was one of the first to use tabbed browsing which is much easier to manage than multiple windows.

If you have Windows XP it is much better than Internet Explorer version 8. However, in my opinion, the latest versions have become slow and bloated. So unless you make good use of one of the many available plug-ins, then I would not recommend this browser.

Chrome

Google introduced this as a direct competitor to Firefox and I must say it is one of my favourites. It is efficient, uses all the latest standards and it is also very fast. It takes full advantage of all modern design standards and can be used on your PC or your Mac. Highly recommended.

Safari

I do not have much experience of Macs so I do not want to offer strong opinions of this browser. Except to say it does follow modern web standards meaning you can take advantage of the best the Internet has to offer these days.

Opera

This was the first browser to use tabbed browsing and remains to this day the only true tabbed browser (it is possible to open new windows with all the other browsers). It has always been standards compliant so has always offered the user the chance to take advantage of all the latest features offered in modern web design.

It is also my browser of choice. It is fast efficient and I will say again, the only true tabbed browser.

The only downside is that not all web designers create sites that work in Opera. I use Google Chrome as a back-up when this is the case. But if your web designer creates a site for you that does not work in Opera it means he has done something wrong and it should be fixed.

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