Websites disregard alternative browsers
Internet Explorer users are being given priority over other web users when it comes to accessing websites, a study has found.
The research, which was conducted by web testing specialist SciVisum and included a survey of 100 web addresses, showed that 10 percent of websites do not give users of alternative browsers full access.
In fact, 3 percent of the sites surveyed turned away non-Internet Explorer users completely. Sites guilty of this were the Odeon cinema chain's website, the Jobcentreplus site and an insurance website run by Llyods TSB The remaining 7 percent contained features that were compatible only with Internet Explorer, leaving users of browsers such as Firefox -- which is based on the well-recognised Cascading Style Sheets 2 (CSS2) standard -- out in the cold
SciVisum warned that companies are leaving themselves open to potential revenue loss by failing stick to recognised web standards when designing their sites. Although Internet Explorer may still be the dominant browser, alternative browsers are growing in popularity, with Firefox's market share reaching 8 percent in May, up from 7.38 percent in April. It has had a reported 50 million downloads since its launch last year. In Germany, Firefox accounts for 24.2 percent of web browsers, and it is expected to reach 10 percent in the US later this year.
Developers who design for Internet Explorer first may also be creating more work for themselves when they try to make the site compatible with other browsers, said SciVisum's managing director Deri Jones. Creating for a non-standards compliant web browser means the designer has to undo much of the work already completed, Jones explained. "They've built a house on sand," he said.
He urged web designers to create their sites based on the recognised standards, and then check how it looks in Internet Explorer, instead of the other way around.