The browser war continues with the five major contenders, a couple are steady in their popularity, another couple are on the downward spiral and one is climbing pretty fast across the board. Everyone has their preference; some of us don't care and use whatever ships with our computer, others want to use the 'best' and some want only what will get them across the line.
Being a programmer my views on browsers can range but ultimately comes down to what I'm using the browser for. This article is coming from a users' perspective, someone who uses internet banking, online purchases, browsing for cool recipes or the latest Mac Book Pro, a little bit of a funny clip on Youtube and a status update on Facebook; I think this would cover about 99% of online users.
The first thing to look for in a browser is speed, and I'm not saying that because I'm a guy and like fast cars, but it really is important. I remember researching this issue at university and it was evident that the majority of mildly educated web users responded better when the browser responds, in their eyes, immediately. Fast browsing makes our experience fun, it makes sense and something we have come to expect and not because we're unreasonable, but because the technology is there to do it. We must remember that technology is driven by industry and when capitalism took business global, it created a need for fast communication, so instead of business deals taking 3 months to do, it could be as quick as a phone call and with the increase in globalisation the demand for a faster communication medium has pushed the development of faster servers, faster connections and ultimately faster browsers.
As discussed above, speed is important not just because it makes our browsing experience better but because it is one of the many factors involved in good useability. Now having said that, useability is perceived in my view and what I mean by that is; every person is different, we all learn differently, look different and think differently and so how we learn to use something or just the way we use something or everything will be different. Have you ever thought why we all know how to use something without looking at the manual and in some things we need the manual? It's because we all have a preference or a perceived idea or logic on how something should work. I can guarantee that if you tested a handful of users who each tried all the major browsers you would find varying results on perceived speed and useability.
I am a big advocate of technology and as I mentioned before, we, the consumer, are the driving force behind technology; it will always supply a demand and in some instances start a demand? A discussion for later but something to think about but I'll use it for our browser discussion.
The modern web browser brings us new technology and the ability to use that new technology, all of it is there to make our experience easier and richer; to ignore technology and say that we don't need it is ignorant and sounds like an Ostrich with its head in the sand. Surely we want the most and best that the technology has to offer, it has been designed for you and your needs, to make your life and job easier. Online technology is not like a car, it doesn't get more valuable the older it gets, in fact we refer to it as out-dated and in some cases unusable. My advice is to do a Google search and find out which browser supports the latest trends and mark-up: at the moment the major obvious ones are HTML 5 and CSS3.
You're probably wandering when I'm going to tell you which browser to use or which one I think is the best. As mentioned above, there are five major browsers: Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Safari and Internet Explorer. The browser we choose to use is up to us, they're all free so download them and try them out, you will soon see which one you perceive to be easier to use, which one you perceive to be faster and which one makes your experience richer: use the browser that ticks all your boxes, it's probably the best one for you.