Back when I first found out about the Internet around 12 years ago, the only browser I knew was Netscape. (RIP +) I didn’t even know it was called a browser then. All I know is it’s this thing used to “surf the web.” Today things have surely changed. But are they for the good?
These days, there are three browsers on the top with a significant amount of users. With such tight competition, users can expect more features and functionalities from these applications. And since browsers are free, users can very easily switch applications and take advantage of more/different features. It’s like a dream come true. Though it makes the competition tougher.
But on one end, with more and more browsers being available, web developers face potentially more work with more browser compatibility issues. Web design alone poses tons of problems what more with functionality? I’m not officially a web designer or developer so I can’t really tell, but with the increasing amount of efforts and money needed to develop good websites, wouldn’t it slow down the evolution process? Instead of discovering new verticals and exploring new concepts and possibilities, developers are stuck trying to get everything to work seamlessly across different browsers.
Of course, I may be way out of the line or I may be totally wrong but what if I’m right? What if there is sense to what I am saying? I came across this thought because I’m trying to build a website and I’m working fairly hard to make it look good. But then I realized that I have to check if it looks the same way on other browsers like Chrome and IE. (sadly, some people still use IE for whatever reason) Around 10 years ago, developers and designers can just work on their websites to be IE-compatible and tell Netscape users (which was less than 10% of web surfers then) to go switch to IE. And they did switch over. Today, even if users quickly jump from one browser to another, the balance would be barely shaken. And with the current trend, it looks like it’s gonna be a Mozilla-Google fight in the near future with neither one looking to let up for a while. But I digress. My point is, it’s hard to ignore any one browser. Websites should work across all platforms these days. Otherwise, you’re just limiting your web site’s potential from the start.
So is this browser wars good for the users? It’s good that we have a choice and more features are available to us. But is it also limiting the potential of the websites that we visit?