One of the challenges ever business faces when it comes to website design is taking advantage of the latest graphic innovations while also being compatible with older technology. Companies like Microsoft continue to release new versions of their browser while discontinuing previous versions. Similar to a MFP client that wants to connect their brand new system to a 10-year old desktop computer running Windows XP, older web browsers can present challenges for dealerships wanting to be compatible with all of their clients.
According to W3Schools.com, Google Chrome has 61% of the browser market with Firefox coming in at 23.4%. Together they own almost 85% of all browser traffic.
The browser that seems to cause the most challenges for web designers is Internet Explorer. The most frustrating versions of Internet Explorer were versions 6, 7 and 8. These caused all kinds of problems for both users and web developers. (In the web development world we all rejoiced with IE6 was laid to rest.) It’s no wonder that Microsoft now has less than 10% market share in browsers, even though Internet Explorer is part of the Windows operating system.
When we design a new website we design it to work with the current versions of Internet Explorer. In January 2015, 7.8% of global web browser traffic in January was from IE8 and that number continues to drop quickly.
Should your website be compatible with IE8?
Internet Explorer 8 was part of the Windows XP platform which was discontinued by Microsoft last summer. There are still a handful of legacy machines like cash register systems that still run on Windows XP Embedded, but Microsoft no longer supports Windows XP and recommends users discontinue using XP because of security issues.
In order to be compatible with IE8 you would have to lose many of the interactive graphic elements that make the home page of a website unique. One option is to design the site for IE8. However, that would really limit your options to look like a contemporary technology provider online. Another option is to design an alternate home page for IE8.
Should you spend money to create a second version of your site to work on IE8? In my opionon, no. Less than 10% of the worlds browsing traffic comes from Internet Explorer and only 1.2% comes from browsers on Windows XP. That will continue to shrink.
What browsers should we be most concerned with?
As a dealership, I would recommend being more concerned about your website’s compatability with mobile browsers. Right now over 50% of Google’s search traffic comes from mobile devices. For the dealer sites we manage across the US and Australia, about 15% of traffic comes from mobile. Of that, much of that traffic goes to support pages as people walking up to a broken copier pull out their phone looking to place a support call.
Today’s rapidly changing web environment can be hard to stay on top of. Our team of web developers and marketing specialists is here to help in any way we can.
If there are any questions we can answer about your web strategy or future marketing plans we’d be happy to help. Contact us today for a confidential consultation.