Web Browsers for Construction: Stop Using Internet Explorer

09 July 2020

Web Browsers for Construction

Internet connectivity and web browsers on construction sites should never be ignored or neglected.

It goes without saying, but we’ll say it anyway; for construction sites today, the internet and its accessibility are essential. A 2018 report revealed that nearly 65% of contractors use a tablet on-site, while 93% have smartphones. That’s why staying up to date on everyday tech and its accessibility, such as a web browser, is so important.

Contractors are using smart devices and laptops on job sites to access construction software. For incident reporting, access control, safety measures, worker management, and more, access to digital tools is essential to the productivity and success of a project. 

But are your workers using the right web browsers to access your digital construction tools on the job site?

Both Project and Safety Managers cannot ignore a simple mistake many contractors are making when accessing your construction software; using Internet Explorer as their default browser. 

What’s the problem with Internet Explorer?

Internet Explorer’s Top Problems:

The use of Internet Explorer might seem foreign to some workers, but familiar to some tech veterans.

Despite its presence on most PCs, we’re here to tell you why you should start using a new browser and make sure your contractors avoid using Internet Explorer as their default web browser. Below, you’ll learn how Internet Explorer is a higher cyber security risk and drain on productivity due to slower than acceptable loading times.

What Internet Browser Should Contractors Use?

In no particular order, top recommendations include Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. By avoiding Internet Explorer and using one of these browsers, users:

  • Experience faster loading time.
  • Are less likely to develop a bug, which takes time to remove.
  • Have real-time communication.
  • Have compatibility with more websites.

History of Internet Explorer

Consumers widely used Internet Explorer since it’s creation by Microsoft in 1995. The tech world used Internet Explorer in many innovations; In 1996, Internet Explorer was the first browser to execute CSS (cascading style sheets)…but all good things must come to an end. 

In May 2005, the usage of Internet Explorer in the US was 89.9%. By 2015, this dropped to 28.3%. In 2020, US figures indicated that Chrome is by far the most popular browser, followed by Safari.

Jan 2020 (US Internet Browser Usage):

  1. Chrome: 47.79%
  2. Safari: 36.28%
  3. Firefox: 4.37%
  4. Edge Legacy: 3.96%
  5. Internet Explorer: 2.62%
  6. Samsung Internet: 2.58%

Internet Explorer is known by consumers as the most bug-ridden browser, ever. 

Even Microsoft dropped support for Internet Explorer. Microsoft now recommends using the new Chromium-based Microsoft Edge as an alternative. 

The Negative Effects of Internet Explorer

  • Testing Takes Time
    • Today, tech developers typically test their sites on modern browsers; it would be very rare for developers to test their products on Internet Explorer. 
    • This is because testing on a browser takes time. Busy developers know that the best testing is done on more commonly used browsers. Chrome, for example, ensures the best user experience for the masses (rather than the small percentage still using Internet Explorer). 
  • Microsoft Drops Support
    • An official Microsoft blog named ‘The Perils of Internet Explorer as your default site’ stated that ‘enough is enough’ and ‘we’re not supporting new web standards for it,’ telling people that they need to change to a modern browser.
    • In January 2020, Microsoft stopped supporting any new web standards for Internet Explorer 10, no longer creating new security updates, offering new features, or any improvements in design. A lot of modern CSS isn’t supported by Internet Explorer. The design could look oversimplified or old-fashioned.
    • Moreover, Internet Explorer 11 will only be supported until 2025, when Windows 10 comes to an end. This may seem far off in the future, but it’s vital to plan and tell your subcontractors to use the right browser!
  • A Bug-ridden Browser and Danger to Your Cyber Security
    • While Internet Explorer remained the most popular browser up until 2016, Microsoft neglected improvements made by other modern browsers such as Firefox. As a result, bugs and security problems grew. When it comes to debugging, an early version of DevTools is your only choice and option for a painful solution.
    • Debugging is time-consuming. Before a method of debugging is decided on, this bug needs to be reproduced. When the method is chosen, debugging can take a long time. Then, tests need to be done to make sure this problem no longer exists.
    • In September 2019, a hacker discovered a bug , which allowed remote control over a computer if the user viewed the website. Affecting versions 9 to 11 of Internet Explorer, it was described as a ‘Scripting Engine Memory Corruption Vulnerability.’ An attacker could then install programs, access, alter or delete data, or form a new account with full user rights.
  • Dropped by Popular Websites
    • Internet Explorer has already been cut by popular websites such as Youtube, Slack, Trello, Spotify, WhatsApp, and Yahoo. Entering Twitter, a banner comes up, warning users that they will not have the best experience choosing Internet Explorer. Users are then redirected to a much older version of the site. Other sites such as Apple Music and Stripe break up and can’t be viewed on Internet Explorer.
  • Loading Time 
    • Some sites only take 2.72 seconds to load, Internet Explorer 11 takes 4.53 seconds. This makes it about 3.5 times slower than browsers such as Chrome or Firefox. 47% of consumers surveyed expect a web page to load up within 2 seconds or less. Large files will take a lot more time to download. 
    • In construction, real-time data collection is an important reason why internet access should always be available. If files are slow to access using Internet Explorer, a lot of time could be lost.
  • Compatibility Solution
    • Internet Explorer should only be used for a ‘compatibility solution.’ Microsoft stated that it’s no longer a browser; it is now used to deal with older sites that have not updated for modern browsers. 

Many see Internet Explorer as a browser that is frozen in time while the web moves on. Make sure your employees and workers know the negative impact Internet Explorer can have and the correct web browsers to use for construction software. The adverse effects of Internet Explorer compared to modern web browsers need to be recognized and explained to anyone still using it, particularly to those who use it merely out of familiarity. Consider this, subcontractors may have always used this browser, and they aren’t aware a better option exists. Sharing this insight can turn a painful, slow moving technical experience into a breeze. 

In the construction industry, where productivity is such a critical need, workers need to know how modern browsers can improve their experience using construction software tools.

Where to Download an Up-to-Date Browser:

  • Download Chrome here

  • Download Firefox here

  • Download Safari here

Taking time to download a modern internet browser is necessary if you want to save more time down the line. Instructions are straightforward and well laid out. Sites will usually answer any questions if a problem occurs. Always remember to update your browser when prompted. 

When all is said and done:

Some old-fashioned business applications only work in Internet Explorer. It’s for this reason that the browser still exists. Businesses should realize that this isn’t the best choice, and changes need to be made. It’s not enough for you to use the best browser, your employees and subcontractors need to also know the correct web browsers for construction.

 

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Sonya Sikra

Sonya is the Brand Strategy Manager at GoContractor. She specializes in communicating how implementing tech in construction can drive productivity and profit.

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