2 Steps to make old browsers work with new websites – browser compatibility

Is your audience visiting your website with an ancient browser like IE 8? Help them have a good experience by taking these 2 steps towards browser compatibility.

browser-compatibilityThis old tape deck

I’m looking at a shelf with around 200 audio cassettes tapes I recorded back in the ‘80s. My last cassette deck, which played my cassettes for years, just died. I know, cassettes are archaic. But back in the ‘80s, cassettes were cutting edge.

Now I must decide: should I turn the music on my cassettes into digital files that I can listen to on my iPod, or just try to find another cassette deck and enjoy them as they are?

Back to the future

With websites, technology ages rapidly as well. Now, you probably update your web browser to the current version fairly often. But don’t assume your users keep their technology up to date.

For example, take Internet Explorer (IE). Many large organizations still run the Windows XP operating system (released 2001). And because it’s complicated and expensive, they choose not to upgrade to a newer system. IE version 8 (released 2009) is most recent browser that runs on Windows XP, so that’s what their staff will use to visit your website.

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IE 8 is a stone age browser that many modern web features, such as JavaScript and CSS, simply don’t work on. So the result for IE 8 users can be a funky, buggy experience on your website that makes your brand look bad.

Two steps to browser compatibility

• Find out what browser and which version your organization uses. You first want to survey your organization, not your outside audience – because if a website looks buggy to your colleagues, it hardly matters what your audience sees.

• Find out what browser and which version your audience uses. If you have Google Analytics installed on your website, look in the left hand menu under Audience > Technology > Browser & OS. Click on the browser name and it will show you what percent of your audience are using each version.

Making it work

Fortunately, coders can build in compatibility with IE 8 fairly easily. Just make sure you research the browser version issue in your planning phase. It is a lot easier and cheaper to include this kind of requirement in the initial technical specs, rather than add it later as a change order. Your coder will thank you!


The IRS employee manual had instructions for collecting taxes after a nuclear war.

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LevinsonBlock is a Brooklyn-based healthcare marketing agency that specializes in mid-sized organizations. Our clients include healthcare providers such as FQHCs, disease foundations, and healthcare technology firms.
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