There’s been a lot of posts on the Web about the forthcoming mobile apocalypse (Mobipocalypse?), where people will browse the Web with nothing but tablets, smartphones and whatever the next generation of mobile devices will bring. “The desktop is doomed!” “Is your website ready for the mobile masses?” The variations are many, but the message is the same: nobody wants desktops (or, by extension, laptops) anymore and we’d better get our developer rears in gear before the mobile revolution runs us over.
I may yet be run over, but it seems that mobile isn’t going to be primary real soon: 90% of internet activity worldwide occurs on the desktop. No, you are not allowed to use this as an excuse to not to deal with your mobile users. That’s not even the point of this post. Rather, what you should consider, after that bit of data, is this chart:
Knowing that the majority of your library’s patrons are still viewing your library’s online stuff via a desktop browser should give you a reason to stop and consider how they’re doing it.
For many, I think the fact that Chrome has surpassed every other browser may be a surprise. I know that some libraries have already provided Firefox as an alternative browser for their patrons, inside library buildings. Some librarians have even told me that they’ve hidden the Internet Explorer icon or removed it completely, in an attempt to get people to use a better browser. It seems that not many offer the choice of Chrome to their patrons. Why?
What does this mean to me, Laura?
- If your library only offers Internet Explorer to patrons, it’s time to reconsider that. The usage statistics don’t support that decision.
- I still get libraries asking me about backwards compatibility for their websites for Internet Explorer 6 and 7. To put it bluntly, it’s not worth the time. You can’t please everyone, and the development costs aren’t worth it for any library. You have to draw the line somewhere. Many libraries no longer buy and/or circulate VHS tapes–these libraries drew a line. They realized that it wasn’t a format people use (much) any more. Why keep buying them when there’s not a demand? The same thing goes for browsers and web development. Yes, there are a few folks who still have working VCRs. But not many. The library can’t be all things to all people. Libraries are coming to realize that’s not a recipe for success.
- Want to know more about why you shouldn’t be using Internet Explorer? Read Dear Web User: Please Upgrade Your Browser.
If your library uses (or has consciously decided not to use) Google Chrome, please post the reason(s) in the comments.