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Firefox? IE? Which browser should you design your site for?

I’m always amused by browser stat news. TechCrunch is reporting that Firefox 4 has a significantly larger market share than Internet Explorer 9.

My response? Who cares?

Seriously.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m a big fan of Firefox as a browser. And, despite the headaches that cross-browser compatability issues can raise for your web team, I love that continued competition forces browser makers to innovate (it wasn’t all that long ago that Microsoft said they weren’t going to update Internet Explorer at all apart from the operation system—that didn’t last).

But, here’s why it doesn’t matter: What other people say about browser use is unimportant. What matters is what your customers use. Look at your own analytics (in Google, it’s under Visitors > Browser Capabilities) and see what your customers do. For instance, here’s what it looks like on one site I know:

Browser share IE vs. Firefox

And here’s another:

Browser share IE vs. Firefox 2

In a perfect world, your site will work with all browsers. Pay attention to shifts in share. But, if you’re going to prioritize, give priority to the browsers your customers use first.


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Tim Peter is the founder and president of Tim Peter & Associates. You can learn more about our company's strategy and digital marketing consulting services here or about Tim here.

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