Recently, an AdvancedMinistry customer came to us with a usability problem in their Administrative Control Panel – the area within AdvancedMinistry that they can go to make changes to their website. To summarize the problem: After making a change to their content, they found that they could not navigate back to the main page of the Control Panel.
After a few emails back and forth, I discovered that the user was in the process of trying out Internet Explorer 8 BETA (a previously untested browser) and that it was causing problems within the Control Panel.
The unfortunate thing was that during the process of determining the problem, the user became very frustrated with the service, which is understandable. So I wanted to take a minute to outline our approach to new browser launches so you all know where we’re coming from and to help you understand the risks involved with early adoption of new browsers (in general, but especially as it pertains to AdvancedMinistry).
It is an unwritten policy for us to delay jumping on just any new browser that comes up. We feel it’s better to wait until some of the bugs are ironed out before investing our resources into modifying the platform for these new browsers. Another key factor is the platform is aimed at servicing the widest range of users as possible. As such, it is difficult to justify modifications on a pre-release browser for 2%, or less, of the user-base.
You might recognize this approach as being similar to many businesses that waited until Windows Vista was no longer carrying a significant risk of disrupting operations before they deployed it to their networks.
So, we want to encourage all of you that if you are going to look into adopting early versions of new releases of IE, Firefox, or Chrome, make sure that you have a way in which to revert back to previous generation browsers until the new browser has had a chance to establish itself and we’ve worked on the compatibility issues (i.e. have an older, supported version installed on a separate computer).