When Browsers Don’t Play Well Together

Last week, while working on an accreditation report, I decided to check on the ease of downloading some eBooks before stating that students at all campuses could use them without problems. I downloaded Adobe Reader and Bluefire and proceeded to follow the web directions we had posted on one of our guides. 

At first, things seemed to be going well. The screen told me that my book was checked out and downloaded. Success.

Not quite. Or not at all. Because I couldn’t find the book anywhere on my iPad. 

After trying for a good hour (I’m nothing if not determined!), I emailed the colleague who made the guide to ask what I was doing wrong. She wasn’t sure but said she’d try the next morning.

The next day I asked her if she’d had any trouble. Everything went fine, she said. I ran into her cubicle with my iPad and went through all the steps. We agreed I did everything right. But no book appeared on my iPad.

She went to lunch, and I sat at my desk believing I was cursed when suddenly I remembered something . . . 


Flashback to a year earlier.

My phone rings. It’s the assistant to the vice president.

Her:  Why haven’t you signed the curriculum requests in SharePoint?

Me: I did. Yesterday.

Her: Your signature is not there. 

Me: Okay, I’ll do it. (Deep sigh) Again.

I go in and electronically sign the requests.  Thirty minutes later my phone rings. It’s the Associate Vice President.

Him: Hey, I can’t sign off on those curriculum requests until you do.

Me: I did! I promise! Twice!

Being a tech guy, he checked as I did it a third time. He could see my name being typed in. But when he signed in again, my signature was gone.

I did the only logical thing: I barged into our Computer Tech’s office and declared that my computer was haunted.

He nodded and then asked calmly, “What browser are you using?”

“Chrome. But why should that make a difference?”

He shrugged. “SharePoint is a Microsoft product and doesn’t always play well with other browsers.”

I went back to my office, opened Sharepoint in Explorer, and everything worked fine. 

Later, our Tech, who really should get an award for his patience and good humor, asked if I wanted him to try to get the two to work together. But since it was not big deal to open up in Explorer, I let it drop.

Back to present day

I sent my lunching colleague a text. “What browser did you use?”


I had been using Chrome, so I opened the website up in Safari, did all the same steps again, and a new screen appeared, asking me where I wanted my book downloaded. This time, it worked and worked so easily that I could heartily recommend it to any student who needed an eBook. 

Being of an inquisitive mind, I did a search on why some browsers won’t work on some sites, and, not being, a techie, I basically fell asleep before I got through the first paragraph. But it often has more to do with the increasing complexity of websites than of browser deficiencies. For the average user like me (and maybe you), the thing to keep in mind is before giving up in despair, try a different browser. 

It may not be “change your browser, change your life.” But sometimes it’s certainly “change your browser, get your site to work better.”





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