Sunday, March 01, 2009

Old browsers never die...

I receive monthly statistics about my personal Web site that gives me a lot of data. I can see that the most popular pages at are my blog, Kathy Schrock's Kaffeeklatsch, my Unofficial Guide to American Graffiti, and Rockwell Schrock's Boolean Machine, an interactive demonstration of Boolean search strategies usable on an interactive whiteboard.

Netscape browser floppyHowever, the statistic I also find interesting is the one that tells me which Web browsers the visitors are using who come to my site. This past month, Netscape 4 led the way with Firefox and IE6 not too far behind. Those three covered about 66% of the visitors.

The surprise comes when I look at the bottom of the list. About 10% of the visitors to my site use browsers such as WebTV 1.x and WebTV 2.x, Netscape 2 and 3, Internet Explorer 2, 3, and 5, Safari 1, Firefox 0 and 1, and AOL 3 and 4.

The users of these older Web browsers can probably get to my site, and navigate it, since it does not deploy the use of too many new technologies. I can just imagine the frustration these users feel when they try to visit some cool new sites or employ the use of some new Web 2.0 tools. Granted, their computers may not be able to handle the plug-ins or add-ons that some of these new technologies require, and they will continue to be frustrated until they can get a newer commputer.

Some of your teachers may not realize there are updates available to their Internet browsers that will run on older machines. Or that there are some additional browsers, such as Avant and Opera, that may work for their particular situation.

A short mention of something like this at a PD session or a faculty meeting could provide one of your teachers with the information he or she needs to be able to effectively use their older computer to navigate the Web sites of today.

(And while we are on the subject, perhaps talking about upgrading their Adobe Acrobat Reader to the highest version possible for their machine might make sense, too! You can still find the a download of Acrobat Reader 5 for Windows 95 and 98 if you look around!)

Photo courtesy of OiMax as per the Creative Commons licensing.