Do you know how many different web browsers visitors to your website use? While Internet Explorer 7 and Firefox are the most popular, there are many others, including IE6, Opera, Safari, Chrome and more. Then there are the different operating systems; Windows XP may predominate still, but there are quite a few Windows Vista, Mac OS, Linux and older Windows system users out there too. Finally, there are the screen sizes, which cover a wider range than ever today, thanks to the bigger screens on some people’s desks, but the increase in use of mobile devices at the other extreme.
These thousands of possible combinations of browsers, operating systems and screen sizes will each result a unique display of your website. If you’ve only ever looked at your website in Internet Explorer on a Windows XP machine with your own PC’s screen (do you even know what resolution that is?), then you’re seeing your website in a way that probably fewer than half of your visitors do. Many companies’ websites don’t just look different in some browsers, they actually fall to pieces.
On the Insider Programme we show our subscribers how to view their websites in all the different browsers without installing them or doing anything technical. If your designers were any good, they’d have tested this, of course. But the trouble is, when they created the website, many of today’s browsers and operating systems didn’t even exist. So you do need to check that everyone can see your website as you assume they do.
Furthermore, if screens are getting larger, should you be redesigning your content to take advantage of that? This subject is discussed intelligenty in Bigger Screens More Or Less on SEO Scoop. I would say that for industrial websites, where the majority of visitors have come from Google, you need to get them to the focus of the page (whatever they were searching for) as quickly as possible, and therefore we should be paring back the information presented, not increasing it …however large the visitor’s screen might be.