A Word About Browsers

Posted on November 13, 2013


Jeff Denton: NCDB Web Developer

Your web browser is a powerful tool.  Its job is to routinely run custom pieces of software called websites that are often indistinguishable from desktop software. Your browser usually performs this task quickly and flawlessly; however, it does need a little bit of your attention every now and again.

Updating Your Browser

The best thing you can do to maintain your security and productivity on the web is to keep your browser up to date. These days, updating your browser takes almost no thought at all as most browsers either auto-update or ask you if you would like to download the latest version.  Updating your browser is always free.  

Some benefits to keeping your browser current:

Compatibility and Speed

We know that we can’t expect a copy of MS Word 2003 to properly open and display a document from Word 2013.  Ten years is a generation in software development and features and capacity change.  We expect changes to make our tasks faster and increasingly seamless.  Browsers are no different.  We can’t expect Internet Explorer 7 (released in 2006) to work very well with modern websites. Pages will not be displayed properly and many of the critical functions of certain web applications may not work at all with older browsers.  

Modern websites require a lot more of your browser than even 3 years ago. Autocomplete or type-ahead search, table sorting, drag-and-drop, multiple file uploading ... your browser is largely responsible for making these cool things happen and it requires a lot of computing power.

Here's a great infographic comparing the speed and performance of current browsers.

Security and Support

New browsers better protect you from viruses, trojans, scams, and other nasty stuff that can find you from around the web.  Additionally, new browsers are supported with patches and updates to maintain a good level of security.  Old browsers are likely not supported or updated any longer, leaving you vulnerable to attacks.

A Better Browsing Experience

Modern browsers (especially Firefox and Chrome) allow plugins from sites like Pinterest, Amazon, Evernote, and others that greatly simplify the work you do on the web.  For example, if I want to add a photo or some text to my Evernote account from a site I am browsing, I simply open the Evernote plugin from the Chrome toolbar and select the item on the page I wish to save.  I don’t have to go open Evernote on my computer, wait, copy, paste, etc. in order to make this happen.  It’s a tremendous timesaver.

How Does This Relate To the New NCDB Site?

Our new NCDB site is packed full of newer web technologies including type-ahead search bars, multi-file upload, drag-and-drop, wiki auto-save, and much more.  These nice features require that your browser really be no more than 2-3 years old.  To find out how to determine your browser version and find updates for it, check out this website.

A Final Word For Windows XP and Internet Explorer (IE) Users

If you are still using a machine powered by Windows XP, you must use either Firefox or Chrome to successfully use  the NCDB website.  Windows XP only supports Internet Explorer up to version 8 which is not compatible with the new site.  If you are running Windows Vista or Windows 7, please make sure that IE is updated to version 9 or 10.

We look forward to your questions, comments and feedback.

Comments (6)

Mike, mobile and tablet browsers are their own species really. So far, we've found that the site works great in Safari for iPhone and iPad, Chrome on iPhone, iPad, and most Android devices. We have had one instance to date of the site not working on an Android device.

Jeff Denton

Posted Feb 19, 2014 by Jeff Denton

Ella, we don't regularly test in Safari but I know that Jay uses it exclusively and has no trouble.

Jeff Denton

Posted Feb 19, 2014 by Jeff Denton

Really helpful. Any news about how Safari compares?

Ella Taylor

Posted Dec 20, 2013 by Ella Taylor

Thanks Jeff. This is very helpful. Is it safe to assume that our mobile and tablet users are covered as long as they are using the browser specs you listed?

Mike Fagbemi

Posted Dec 15, 2013 by Mike Fagbemi

Thanks you, Amy!

Jeff Denton

Posted Nov 20, 2013 by Jeff Denton

Well written and helpful, Jeff. Thank you.

Amy Parker

Posted Nov 19, 2013 by Amy Parker

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