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Plan for Browser Obsolescence to Keep Moving Forward

It’s 2015 and many banks and credit unions are still spending time and money supporting Internet Explorer 7 and 8 while simultaneously trying to move forward building modern responsive websites optimized to take advantage of current desktop and mobile technologies. How should a bank or credit union determine when to stop officially supporting old browser versions on their websites?

Invest in Supporting Old Technology or New?

In a perfect world, new web technology would work on all old devices and browsers; however, that’s not the reality of websites today. Old browsers don’t support all new technologies. For example, Internet Explorer 8 does not natively support the technologies that make modern responsive websites work. This creates a dilemma for some banks and credit unions that are still running outdated browsers internally, or who still have small minority of users who are also using old browsers. As a financial institution, should you spend extra money to continue to support a shrinking number of users who have not updated to modern browsers, or should you instead invest all of your available budget into moving your online services forward?

Too often we see our clients spending money to continue to support small numbers of customers who are using old technologies – money that could be used instead to create or improve online services for the majority of their users who are using modern browsers and devices. To ensure that everyone involved in planning, developing, managing, and supporting online services can reasonably plan for technology innovation and implementation, financial institutions should establish pre-defined trigger points for browser obsolescence and minimum alternative functionality that their websites and online services will deliver for unsupported browsers.

Establish a Metric to Predict and Trigger Obsolescence

One method of defining a trigger is to establish a browser market share approach specific to your website. For example, when your website analytics data shows a major browser version with less than 5% usage on your website for three consecutive months, this will trigger the obsolescence of that browser. All future website and online services development will no longer include specific coding or testing of features for that browser version. The bank may define the minimum alternative functionality to be redirecting visitors using obsolete browsers to a web page that lists supported browsers.

By establishing a pre-defined obsolescence trigger, the people responsible for managing and delivering online services can more accurately predict and plan for future technology projects, both from a technology and budgetary perspective. By watching the trends in your website analytics data, you can also plan ahead to make customers aware of when you will be stopping support for obsolete browsers.

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