As a web developer I get it, testing against a bunch of different browsers is more work. Hard to justify the effort when there is this great, cutting edge browser pumping out features. One already used by a near super majority in the most lucrative markets. Even many of its most popular competitors are using it as a foundation for compatibility. And marketing too may see value in targeting Google’s Chrome browser.
Yet the reality is that unnecessarily straying from web standards, neglecting testing against other browsers, or delivering different experiences by browser ultimately pushes alternative users further and further away. This tyranny of the majority and exploiting “valuable signals” adds more roadblocks in front of those who are—or try to be—different.
As a user of an alternative browser myself it’s tiring getting opaque error messages, blank pages, or broken forms when all I want to do is some light reading and occasionally submit something. Switching to the dominant / ordained browser often reveals an easier flow, extra options, or an otherwise problem-free experience. But I don’t want to go back to a browser mono-culture.
One of the original aspirations in the web’s early days was that it enabled connecting people who were different or marginalized. A place where one could interact without being instantly judged by superficial qualities, a place outside the sameness bubble. Even if it’s just a small choice like using and supporting a different browser, let’s strive to fulfill that vision of diversity and inclusion.