Safari increase

It appears that Safari’s use is rising. One recent report by Net Applications places Safari usage at 7%. Although other stats sites such as thecounter.com put Safari’s percentage at around 4%, it’s good that other browsers are finally making in-roads into IE’s dominance.

Although there’s been a very big increase in student laptop use on campus, I would say that Mac usuage has only grown in line with the general trend. So Stats for our systems are closer to ‘thecounters’ results. Our figures are:

  • Safari – 4%
  • Firefox – 20%
  • IE – 74%

Although my life would be easier if we stuck to a single browser. I’ve always recognised that as a web developer in a University, I have a responsibility for information to be as accessible as possible. So have resisted efforts to move to a single browser platform (IE). I the long term this will pay dividends as students switch to ‘standards-based’ browsers such as Firefox. In the short term with IE6 being so heavily used and a requirement to provide access for the majority of users, it does significantly increase development time.

Our student population has a very wide demographic, everything from 18 year old’s, coming direct from school, to ‘mature’ health professionals here to develop their professional expertise. It means I have a proportion of users who are not confident computer users often using older computers, so IE 6 usage is still very high (‘encouraging’ them to upgrade would put pressure on our helpdesks)

A big advantage of most of the modern browsers such as Firefox and Safari, is that they encourage users to update when new versions become available. They make it easy, even for the users who aren’t confident, to upgrade to the latest and most secure version. In fact our stats show that for Safari and Firefox, a high proportion of users are using the latest versions. Unfortunately with Internet Explorer, we’re still seeing nearly 25% of Internet Explorer users are using Internet Explorer 6. If I factor that 60% of all accesses are from on-campus, where computers are using the latest version of Internet Explorer, then the percentage of our students’ computers using Internet Explorer 6 must be nearer 30-35%. So for us at least, there’s still a long way to go before we can drop that browser from our test suite.

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