Often people ask what web browser works the best or displays content the nicest. Browser recommendations are difficult to pin down as everyone seems to have preferences of which are better than others.
We may not be able to provide a solid recommendation of just one browser; however, we can provide some information to help a person with using any browser more effectively online and finding a browser which meets specific needs.
In relation to Moodle
Moodle supports most common (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari) up-to-date browsers and computer operating systems (OS) like Windows and Apple – OS X. This means that user interactions and experiences should be similar compared to other users using a different browser.
Moodle 2.4.x Recommended minimum browser: Firefox 4, Internet Explorer 8 (IE 10 required for drag and drop of files from outside the browser into Moodle), Safari 5, Google Chrome 11.
A common 3rd party site used for testing web browsers is http://acid3.acidtests.org/. Note: most browser score around 75. If a browser score’s lower it may mean the browser is an old version or the browser is not following web standards closely. The Acid Tests is a web standards project; The Web Standards Project is a grassroots coalition fighting for standards which ensure simple, affordable access to web technologies for all.
Another 3rd party resource to note is http://www.w3.org/
When working with files online
The types of files used online can impact a user experience as some files are not always cross-browser or cross-platform friendly. Most files offered online require a 3rd party plugin to be installed in the web browser before the content can be viewed. If the plugin is not installed then the file being offered usually does not open in the browser but is downloaded instead.
As content creators working in an LMS, the types of files and how the file is going to be view should always be thought of.
A few questions to ask are: will the file require a plugin to view? If downloaded, is the file compatible and viewable without expensive software and is the software available for different computer operating systems (OS) like Windows and Apple – OS X? Can the file be viewed on a Mobile Device or Tablet?
Some common examples of file types which can be viewed in a browser with a plugin:
- Flash plugin: used for viewing SWF and FLV (Video) files
Note: Flash is not available on iPhones and iPads
- Quicktime: used for viewing MOV and some other video files
- Adobe Acrobat: used for viewing PDF documents
Note: usually it is recommended that if a plugin is being used with a browser to use the most recent version of both the browser and the plugin. Only a couple of plugins have been listed as the list can be extensive. The plugins listed are not recommended over another plugin but are used for example purposes.
Some common files which usually don’t have freely available plugins:
These files usually require download to a user’s computer and viewing by opening the file within the appropriate program which MUST be installed on the computer.
- Word documents (Doc or DOCX): usually requires download and opening with the appropriate program
- PowerPoint (PPT or PPTX): usually requires download and opening with the appropriate program
- Excel documents (XLS or XLSX): usually requires download and opening with appropriate program