Firefox set another new record last month. No, not the 8-million-plus downloads on Download Day – that’s nice, but since this is the first time the Guiness people have ever certified a record in that category, it’s pretty meaningless. Much more important in the grand scheme of things is the browser’s continued market penetration. Net Applications has the data: a 5.5% increase in browser share in the last year, paralleling a 6% drop in IE use and leaving Firefox poised to hit 20% of the browser market this month.
With 1 out of 5 browser hits being from Firefox, we’re at the point where web designers can no longer afford to build “IE only” sites. For web workers in the design and development universe, this is good news; high Firefox market numbers act as a natural push towards standards-based design. I wouldn’t want to see IE vanish completely – an ecosystem with just one browser is bad no matter whose browser it is. But with the current trend continuing, those of us who are committed Firefox users (and the 8% or so who use other alternatives) stand to benefit in cross-browser releases of new technology on any number of fronts.