Browser Compatibility: What Does Your Website Look Like On Different Computers?

From March 2010, Microsoft has agreed to the European Union’s request to open up Windows users to the option of different browsers.

Which you may have dismissed as the usual legal stuff that doesn’t affect people in real life.

But in this instance, there are implications for your website.

Until this date, Windows users in Europe defaulted to using Internet Explorer. To use a different browser such as Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera or whatever they had to actively seek it out.

Now, over a period of a few months, when the appropriate Windows Update takes place, people will be offered a “browser ballot” and asked to choose their default browser from a random selection.

The upshot of this is that you need to make sure that your website doesn’t “break” in one of these alternative browsers because an increasing share of your site visitors will be using something other than Internet Explorer.

Checking what your website looks like in different browsers and even on different operating systems is increasingly important. If you maintain your own website, this is down to you. If you employ someone, you need to make sure that they are checking what your site looks like.

It’s fairly easy to install the latest version of browsers such as Firefox and Google Chrome on your computer. But that still doesn’t tell you what Mac users or people using older operating systems, computers or browsers are experiencing.

There are a variety of online services that will process your website – Browsershots will do this for about 80 different combinations of browser and operating systems and you can fine tune your results according to screen resolution and all sorts of other options. That’s probably overkill but it definitely pays to check your website in each of the major browsers whenever you make a change to the display.