About a month ago, an online retailer made the news for imposing an “IE7 Tax” on its customers. Any customer using the Internet Explorer 7 (IE7) browser was charged a 6.8% tax on their total bill. In their opinion, the tax helped offset the cost of supporting the IE7 browser.
While the move probably riled up a few customers, it brings up some good questions: What’s so bad about old browsers like IE7? Are they really that expensive to support? Why are modern browsers so important? To answer those questions, let’s take a look at 4 problems caused by old browsers:
1. They stifle progress
Since old browsers don’t support modern standards, they create a major barrier to HTML5 and CSS3 adoption. Developers who wish to use the latest standards must decide whether it’s worth the time and effort needed to make their pages/apps usable on old browsers. This article goes into more detail on this issue, and highlights what developers must understand before using modern standards.
2. They waste countless hours
Not only do old browsers not support modern standards, they often misinterpret old standards. As a result, web designers and developers must waste countless hours fixing their pages/apps for use on old browsers. If they choose to use new standards, they must incorporate time-consuming workarounds just to make their applications usable on older browsers. If you’re a developer or designer that’s dealing with this issue, here’s an article that explains one decent CSS3 workaround for older browsers.
3. They provide a limited browsing experience
If you use an older browser like IE6, IE7, or IE8, you will have a limited web experience. Old browsers render certain elements incorrectly, are much slower than modern browsers, and won’t let you use many of the new capabilities available in HTML5. Here’s a great experiment for anyone still using an old browser: If possible, open up an old browser and a modern browser side-by-side and compare the experience. The differences may surprise you.
4. They are less secure
While different browser companies fight over which of their modern browsers is the safest, no one argues the fact that older browsers are less secure. Companies and individuals who continue using outdated browsers are unnecessarily putting their data at risk.
Old browsers cause all sorts of problems, both for developers and end users. The best way to fix this problem: Make sure you’re using a modern web browser. If you’re not sure which direction to go, here’s a nice list of browser alternatives, complete with descriptions and features of each.