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Google Chrome browser – a boost to web designers and developers

September 4, 2008 3 comments

Google recently released their Chrome browser, to mixed reviews. In short, Chrome is an open source browser promising performance improvements, new features, and better integration with Google services like Gmail and Docs. There are many more details and reviews available, but regardless of how it performs or how people like it, it’s great news to those of us creating websites everyday.

What’s exciting to me as a web designer and (occasional) developer is that it gives users everywhere another viable, free, and well publicized alternative to Microsoft Internet Explorer, especially version 6 (IE 6).

Quite a few users still use IE 6, and most of them are probably content with it. For any company creating websites or web marketing however, IE6 is a monster that brings with it wasted time and resources, multiple versions of code, and severe limitations from both a technical and creative standpoint.

IE6 is an old, outdated browser. IE6 was released in 2001, and many of its shortcomings stem directly from the fact that it is simply outdated when compared to modern browsers like IE7, Mozilla Firefox, or Apple’s Safari. There are too many problems to list here, but security concerns, lack of PNG 24 alpha support, CSS layout inconsistencies and web standards compatibility issues are all sources of endless headaches for designers and developers here at DigitalDay and beyond. Additionally, there are interesting new techniques and creative approaches being discovered every day in the world of web design, but many of them are limited to newer browsers.

Some companies have officially just decided to stop supporting IE6 entirely, while others continue to plea their case to clients, etc. What ultimately matters though, is whether or not users can access the information and brands we work with. We don’t design for the brands, we design for the users. Unfortunately right now, approximately 25% of all users we measure are still using IE6. So, we have to keep them in mind with everything we do.

The exciting thing about Google Chrome is that it is a modern browser supporting web standards, with none of the headaches IE6 brings to the table. It is such a media darling that more than a few IE6 users who had never heard of Mozilla might give it a try. Every user who takes a step forward and downloads a modern browser will see what they’ve been missing, and the creativity and efficiency of web design and development across the board will grow.