One of the many challenges that we face in developing web-sites is cross-browser compatibility. It used to be that you would develop for Internet Explorer and hope it would work in the other browsers. Then along came Firefox and developers had to move towards greater site compatibility and standards compliance.
Two years ago you would develop for Internet Explorer and Firefox. Internet Explorer at the time still had almost 70% of the browser market with Firefox trailing at about 25% and the other browsers (Opera, Chrome, Safari, etc.) making up the other 5%.
Times are a changin’…
Google released their own web browser Google Chrome in September 2008. Since the start of 2009 Google Chrome started a slow climb in popularity and adoption. First by geeks and then, slowly, by a wider audience.
According to StatCounter Google Chrome has been slowly gaining in market share and is expected to surpass Firefox as the second most popular browser by the end of the year. Since the beginning of 2011 Google Chrome has gained 8% market share, while Internet Explorer has lost 9% and Firefox has lost 4%. Google Chrome is currently sitting at 23.6% of the browser market share.
From my own personal experience the web browser usage varies significantly depending on the type of web-site you are developing and the industry you are involved in. The difference between sites targeted to a technical audience vs a household audience is quite dramatic.
Here are some of my own statistics from my web-sites:
- Technology related web-sites (Tech on Tour, YWAM IT)
- 37% – Firefox
- 28% – Internet Explorer
- 24% – Google Chrome
- 7% – Safari
- Household Audience (Family Cooking Blog, Renovate Australia)
- 43% – Internet Explorer
- 21% – Firefox
- 18% – Safari
- 16% – Google Chrome
As an interesting side note, on my cooking site Safari is actually the most popular browser at 43%, but it is balanced out because there is less traffic to that site compared to the renovation site. Does this mean that Apple users cook more, or just like my cooking style?
Google Chrome is on of the most standards compliant browsers on the market (source). With the diversity of browsers being used on the web compliance with HTML5 and CSS is becoming increasingly important. As we develop our web-sites we need to be developing standards compliant sites, and testing them in as many browsers, and operating systems as possible.
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