What's a Browser?

I’ve asked quite a number of people what browser they use, and their reply is something like “Yahoo” or “AOL.” Well, Yahoo is not a browser, neither is AOL. These are companies that provide online services and each has a browser they provide to their customers for use (AOL’s is actually a version of Internet Explorer) but these are not browsers themselves.

Short for “Internet web browser” a browser is a software application used to locate and display web pages. If you are reading this page, you are using and viewing it a browser. When you go to Yahoo or AOL or any web site on the Internet, you are viewing that web site in a browser. Without a browser, you can’t view the Internet.

The two most popular browsers for PC users are Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and Mozilla’s Firefox but there are quite a few other ones out there. If you’re on a Mac, you may be using Safari or Camino. Firefox and Internet Explorer are graphical browsers, which means that they can display graphics as well as text. Some browsers are text based only and so you don’t see any pretty pictures on the web sites you visit.

Keeping Your Browser Current

Each new version of a browser will more than likely have security fixes in it. If that isn’t enough to get you to update, there’s the fact that browser technology gets better with every new version. You’re cheating yourself from viewing websites as they were created and intended to be seen if you’re hanging on to an older browser version. As browsers evolve they gain more abilities to display more nifty, fun things which you won’t be able to see if you don’t keep your browser current. In other words, you’ll get more enjoyment and information if you keep your browser up to date.

Web site designers phase out developing web sites for the older versions after new versions become available. Therefore, if you’re not running as updated a browser as you could be, your site on your computer in your older browser may look very different from the one your designer developed for you.I’d say on the average, every 2 – 4 years designers in general will phase out developing sites for a browser. As an example, at the time of this writing, the most current version of Internet Explorer is version 8 with version 9 in the making. Most designers stopped developing sites for versions 5 & 6 quite some time ago.

You’ll find a statement on some web sites that the site is “best viewed in Internet Explorer 7” or “best viewed in Netscape 8” You can replace the browser name with other browsers, but these are the ones you see the most. Statements like these are not what I’m talking about when I say you need to keep your browser up to date. Sites contain statements such as these were designed to work in that browser and only that browser. It doesn’t mean you can’t view it in another one, but its design and features are designed to work optimally in that one browser without taking into consideration that not everyone uses that browser. Designing a site for a specific browser is absolutely not good web design. A web site is best designed with good visibility and functionality in all of the most popular browsers, it should not be limited to one specific browser. When a designer creates a web site specifically geared for one browser or another, there’s a good chance the site will not function as it should in another browser.

We can’t urge you enough to update your browser regularly no matter which one you use. I don’t know of a browser out there that isn’t free. All it takes is a few minuts of your time to download and they usually automatically install so if you’re afraid of installs, you needn’t be in these cases. It couldn’t be any simpler!

In order for you to best view any web site, you should always keep your browser updated to the most current version. We just can’t stress this enough. Not only is this practice related to computer security issues, but you’re cheating yourself out of viewing capabilities if you don’t. You could be missing so much of the new technology that older browsers are not capable of handling. (Like how the site is intended to be viewed for example!) If your browser is not up to date, not only is your computer open to more security risks but you’ll miss viewing some very cool stuff! Browsers and browser updates are free! Updating is quick and painless. You have only yourself to blame if you’re cheating yourself out of the latest and greatest! In order to make this a quick and simple process for you, below are the links to update your browser. We recommend Firefox. It’s the safest and most standards compliant browser currently available.

In all my years designing web sites, I don’t recall a client yet that is versed in copyright law or website ownership. I don’t find this strange at all. If you’ve never had to deal with it, there’s no reason you would know about it.

I Am Not A Lawyer

… nor do I pretend to be. I am only passing on some very basic information based on what I’ve learned in my years of business.

If you should ever experience a copyright issue that you or your web designer cannot work out on your own with something like a simple “Cease and Desist” letter to the offending party, don’t try to take it any farther on your own. Your next step should be to contact a lawyer, preferably one that’s versed in Internet copyright law.

In A Nutshell

Copyright law says that the creator of the design and content on a web site automatically becomes the legal owner of said design or content the moment it’s designed or written. It’s customary to post a copyright statement on one’s web site but it’s really not necessary nor is it required by law. Let’s face it, since when do a few words on a web page stop someone from stealing your content if they really want it? If you think a copyright statement is going to stop them, you need to back up and then move forward in re-think mode.

If you want to review the actual laws, one of the best sites to do so belongs to Attorney Ivan Hoffman. Attorney Hoffman is considered to be the most highly regarded authority on the subject of Internet web site law. He provides an impressive list of links for web site designers and site owners that you may wish to review.

A brief list of other good sites to visit are below. You can always Google for more!

Additional Reading

The (formerly Digital Mouse Designs) Deb’s Web, LLC home office is located in Watertown, Wisconsin. I’ve been building web sites for individuals and businesses all over the United States since 1996. Over the years I’ve built a working relationship with other valuable designers and programmers so that I can offer you complete web site services:

  1. Custom Website Design
  2. Search Engine Optimization
  3. Website Hosting
  4. Website Maintenance and Updates
  5. Click to Learn More About Our Services

I believe that one never gets a second chance to make a memorable first impression and that’s why its so important that your website be the best it can be. Business competition is tremendous! There’s a real need to get your foot in the customer’s door in a way that says your product is special.

Your site must be pleasing to the eye but more importantly it must be user-friendly.

Custom Website Design

Every design I create is customized to fit your unique specifications vs. creating an “industry standard” look. I don’t believe in the “one size fits all” philosophy that a purchased template gives you. You’re unique, your business is unique. Your website should project a “unique to you” design so you and your business won’t look like anyone else. Even if your product is one of a hundred similar products, a custom design will help your business and your product to stand out from the rest. Your site will be distinctive from that of your competition which will help you build your business through your unique style.

Want a WordPress site but don’t want to use a pre-made theme? The design I create for you can be converted to work on the WordPress system. Is your current WordPress theme to WordPress-y? I can customize pre-made WordPress themes, too! Nobody has to know your site is running WordPress under the hood.

Common Sense Website Development

I build websites based on common sense by keeping your customers in mind. Should your site be attractive and eye-pleasing? Absolutely! But the site-look should not detract from your product or what you have to say. It’s crucial that your content is what keeps the customer’s attention! If they’re to busy looking at the eye candy and playing with the bells and whistles, they’re not paying attention to your product or services. Distractions keep people from pursuing the reason they came to your site in the first place which will not get nor gain you business. I make it easy for your customers and readers are looking for and this is where end-user-friendliness can make all the difference in the world.

Common Sense Search Engine Optimization

The more features you put on a site, the harder it is for the search bots to navigate to and through your content and your content is what they’re looking for. For best results you want to make your site easy for the bots to crawl. A large majority of add-on specialty features is done with specialized coding which must be put at the top of the website code in order for it to work. What does this mean? The bots then have to crawl through all that additional code before they get to your text content. For better results in the search engines it’s best to leave the toys in the toy box.

Once it’s Built it’s Still Not Done

A good website is one of those things if done right, is really never done. It should be given ongoing attention in order to do its best job for you and your business. Unlike a building contractor who will build your home and move on to the next job, I’ll also maintain and update your site for you.

Advantages to Hiring a Professional

Whether you need a small brochure style site or a major e-Commerce project, I can build you a new custom site or re-design your existing site down to the finest detail.  As a professional I will:

  1. Analyze your design wishes and make practical suggestions based on relevancy to your needs.
  2. Give you personalized one-on-one service no matter what size your website is. You’ll work directly with the owner of the company.
  3. Provide you with cost effective design and development solutions tailored to your needs built with common sense and usability in mind.
  4. Take your website from the twinkle in your eye to a custom finished product unique to you and your business including website hosting and search engine optimization services.

If you’re interested in hiring Deb’s Web, LLC for your website project please submit your web site planner. I will contact you by eMail (generally within 48 hours) to discuss your needs.