Lately I have been having lots of discussions about browsers. As a product manager on a web application, browser support is certainly going to be a big part of my everyday discussions, simply because there is so much variation between browsers in terms of security, adoption, and support for standards and interactive features.
Of course, as modern marketers, many of you also spend lots of time thinking about the experiences that your prospects and customers will have with your web-based marketing content. So, I thought I would gather together some of the research that I have been doing and see if I could represent my findings graphically to try and convey what I have discovered.
I should note that I am not an IT policy or security expert - rather, I took information that I personally got from a web-based literature review and summarized my findings. Specifically, I looked at browserscope.org's security tests to get a security score which I plotted on the X-axis. My colleague, Tim Hester then pointed me at a nifty (and graphically pleasing) site called HTML5test.com to measure adherence to modern browsing standards. I plotted this on the Y-axis.
Finally, I thought that I would also show the relative market share for each browser vendor as the size of the bubbles. I showed this in aggregate since Chrome and Firefox issue updates faster than you can say 'Usain Bolt', it seemed inapplicable to compare specific versions. So, I took versions 25 and 18, respectively. For Internet Explorer, to balance the comparison with predominance (IE8) and recency (IE10) I included versions 8,9 and 10 with the same aggregate share.
Looking at the results visually really clarified a few things for me:
1. I have read that over the last 12 months, Chrome and Safari gained share, while Firefox and IE lost significantly. When you look at the comparison it is not surprising. Chrome's standard version ranks significantly higher to IE8 and 9 in both function and security. It even ranks higher than IE 10, and this is a browser that most IE users are not even on yet.
2. That being said, IE 10 is certainly a a giant leap forwards for Microsoft and puts it back into the realm of modern browsers. This will certainly be good news for marketers and consumers alike, as a more uniformly pleasing browsing experience is made possible across the internet.
As I mentioned to someone on the phone this week, kids born just a few short years ago will probably never understand why browser differences were ever even an issue. Like landlines or trans-continental travel, it will be incomprehensible that such things were ever an issue. Luckily, this one seems to be becoming extinct shortly!