When starting a new website project at One North, we always discuss with our clients what browsers will be supported. We often hear that Internet Explorer 7 should be included. We recommend leaving it off the list, however, as many of the more modern features on websites simply are not supported by the aging browser (released in 2006). Replicating many of the basic features found on today’s websites involves complex and cumbersome workarounds. These workarounds hinder site performance, drive up the scope of work, limit new and exciting capabilities and degrade the overall experience for a site visitor. Does building for the past really make sense?
We decided to compare browser usage in legal to the numbers across the web. These numbers are based on a sampling of legal websites and compares them to the Q3 global results compiled by StatCounter:
The numbers above show a global trend toward modern browsers, such as Chrome, Firefox and the more recent IE releases.
It is notable, however, that Internet Explorer 7 is still holding on to 10% of the legal market (compared to 1% globally). You may be thinking you need to support it on your new site build, but consider the following:
- As IT departments begin to update PCs beyond Windows XP, we can expect to see legal more closely resemble the global trends.
- Consider your timeline to build a new site. Depending on complexity, your site build may extend out beyond six months. In that time the numbers for IE 7 will continue to fall, minimizing any benefit of support for older browsers.
- Support for IE 7 adds complexity to your code and can increase scope.
- IE 7 support will also add more code to your site, which will result in reduced speed for all users.
- IE 7 does not support modern web technologies, such as HTML5, limiting your options for a more compelling website experience.
Based on these considerations, Internet Explorer 7 shouldn't be a primary concern for your new site. To put it simply, you should build for the future of the web and not the past.