It’s Time to Update Your Browser

Logos for the major internet browsers: Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari and Google Chrome

As a student of web development and a person who believes the web is first and foremost a platform for sharing knowledge, accessibility is huge. When I create a website or application, it’s important to make sure the content is accessible no matter the device the person is using, the speed of their internet connection, or their ability.

For the most part this is easily accomplished through applying best practices and conforming to the latest web standards when writing my code. Among other things this includes using alt tags on things like images and Aria Roles to specify sections of content to assist blind users. For rural users, I also like to optimize images and other media to load faster while still looking nice (unpixelated). And of course, it’s important to make sites responsive so the experience is consistent whether the user is on mobile, tablet or desktop.

This only requires a few more snippets of code here and there, but the results are massively beneficial. Not only does it make my site or application more accessible to all users, but it also ensures my work is optimized for search engines. Together, this ensures my content is viewed, or at least able to be viewed, by as many people as possible; both because it is accessible and search engine friendly. It’s a win-win.

However, there is one other thing to increase accessibility but I hate doing: including support for older browsers. The newest versions of HTML, CSS and Javascript come jam-packed with tons of cool features which make things easier and more enjoyable for both the developer and user. Yet, if the user is using an outdated browser, it often requires several workarounds to get these functionalities and features working properly for them.

It’s not that I’m lazy, but that there is no reason not to have a modern browser installed on your computer. In fact, there is every reason to ensure you are using the latest version of any of the amazing browser offerings available:

  1. It’s free! All of the latest and greatest web browsers are 100% unequivocally free. That is pretty fantastic for what is probably the most used application on the majority of users’ computers.
  2. It’s secure! The newest browsers include better protection against malware and other potential threats on the web, as well as fixing bugs and other security threats in older versions.
  3. It works! Not all developers are nice enough to account for older browsers. Having the latest version of a browser will ensure you experience the full functionality of any website you visit.
  4. It has awesome features! The newest browsers come with a lot of great features which make your browsing experience more easy, enjoyable and efficient. There are also a ton of free add-ons available that can do things like block annoying adds or organize your bookmarks.

Now, if you are one of the people still using an old browser, you might be wondering, “okay you’ve convinced me, but which browser should I install?” The simple answer is: any and all of them (well, at least any of the major ones). Seriously, there was once a time when one browser dominated all the others in terms of compatibility and performance, but now a day they are all more or less equal for most users’ needs. You can simply go here to check what current browser you are using and select one of the latest and greatest browsers to install. I recommend installing a couple, try them out and decide for yourself which one you like the best.

If you already have a modern browser installed, I encourage you to share a link to this post with everyone you know, check your friends or family member’s computer and make sure they have one of the latest browsers installed.

Together, we can build a safer and more enjoyable web experience for everyone!