When discussing website requirements with clients, I purposely stay away from asking what browsers they want their website to run on. Instead, I concentrate on discovering their goals and how they see their website supporting their vision. A website must be well-designed so that it is visually appealing, easy to understand, and simple to use. Sometimes, a client will ask if the website will work on different web browsers. Most often, the question relates to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. I explain that developing their website for a better user experience is more important than designing for certain browsers.

Requires extra effort

Designing a website for a specific browser requires adding extra conditional coding and removing styling. Also, web pages require hacks to make them behave like modern browsers.

Requires extra time

Developing a website to work on Internet Explorer 11 and below requires extra time for custom coding and testing. Some elements require the addition of specific vendor prefixes to stylesheets. These vendor prefixes do not guarantee that the element will look the same on all browsers. The reason they don’t look the same is browser vendors do not implement the element as defined in specifications. Should you spend the extra money to have your website look the same on all browsers? Most times, the answer is no.

Requires extra money

I always ask what browsers your website visitors use now. Most clients don’t know. This is where website analytics come into play. Some clients with existing websites do not use analytics or have analytics but don’t track this very important information. I include Google analytics on all the websites I develop. Sometimes clients don’t care about the resulting data but I always have the information available to revisit on a regular basis. This way, I can provide valuable insights into how well their website is performing and suggest improvements.

During the process of client discovery, sometimes the question about browser compatibility comes up. Designing for a specific browser requires extra time for coding and testing. This means clients spend more money. Analytics will confirm what browsers website visitors use.  I always recommend clients concentrate more on developing a better user experience than making their website compatible with older browsers.

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