Web Design Blog : Toolkit Websites

Web Design Blog

Toolkit's Guide to: Browser Compatibility


How does your website look in your preferred browser of choice? Do you know what your website looks like in Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari or Microsoft Edge?

Have you checked your website on mobile or tablet browsers? Do you own a Samsung, iPhone, iPad, HTC, Blackberry or Google Nexus to test with?

The reason we ask is because it's important to check. During your website build, we cross test your website in all browsers to make sure everything is looking consistent.

Each browser will display your site slightly differently depending on what you are using, and what version of that browser you are using. Normally the differences are so minor that you won't even notice. Here is an example using our own website.

Here is our website in IE 6 (far left) IE 7 (middle) and IE 10 (far right)


  • You can see that IE 6 is such an old version that it's unable to render any of the code or design. It just portrays the website as a series of links. 
  • IE 7 does read the code, and shows the website moderately well. Although we've spotted a couple of issues on the right hand side of the slideshow, and the social media icons have disappeared. 
  • IE10 however, even though it is an older version still, shows the website perfectly. 
The example given above is just an extreme case scenario, as IE 6 is very old and very rarely used.
With so many old browsers hanging around and new updates to the modern ones flying out at record speed, it’s impossible for web designers to make your site render perfectly on every available browser and their oldest/newest versions.

Browser rendering is something web design companies battle with on a daily basis. There are multiple versions of browsers to consider, and the older versions are unreliable or unstable. With more modern and up to date versions available, older versions are being laid to rest.

What are the most common browsers?

The big three, collectively holding on average around 90% of the market, are Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, and Firefox.

Each web browser will have many different versions which have been released over the years. For example, Firefox is currently on version 39.

At Toolkit HQ we use Firefox. We find this to be the faster, more reliable browser in order to create our web designs and content layouts.

What browsers do Toolkit Websites support?

Although we use Firefox, we support and will test each and every website we publish on the latest 4 versions of all the major browsers listed here:

-    Firefox
-    Chrome
-    Safari
-    Internet Explorer/Edge

By covering the latest 4 versions of the main browsers above we know we're testing your site in the environments most web users will find themselves in. It is only the very few who will fall outside the above 4's latest versions.

What browser versions are being filtered out?

The earlier versions of Internet Explorer, such as 7 and 8 are now considered old. A lot of web design companies are ceasing to support these, along with big names such as Google Analytics. Google stopped supporting Internet Explorer 8 at the end of 2013!

Microsoft strongly urges its customers to update to a later version of their browser.  Many major websites such as Gmail, Apple, Facebook, Google and Youtube have also publicly stopped supporting older IE versions.

What if my website users are using an older or outdated version of a browser?

If your visitors view your site in an older browser, it will appear fine, but it will not be perfect. There may be minor inconsistencies in colour and spacing along with a few other minor issues that your clients may not even notice.

Most of today's popular browsers automatically upgrade themselves, including Chrome, Firefox and Explorer (starting with IE9 and upwards). Automatic updates mean less of a need to design for older browsers. If anyone is using an older browser, it means that they have chosen not to update their browser to a newer version.

To download the latest browsers, or to provide download options to your clients, use these links:

Firefox (Recommended)
Internet Explorer
Safari
Chrome

If you are unsure, or you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us.

Remember, web design is about showing your website off to the masses and not jeopardising your sites style and layout for those few clients on antiquated browsers