Unfortunate, because I've come to realise how unsuitable they often are. Many act as straight-jackets for the mind!
Some rough observations and notes, may be of use to others:
- No browser is particularly good. I use several and deliberately don't form too strong preferences, to any of them.
- Browsers that spy on me annoy me intensely. They all seem do it in some way, except Tor-Browser maybe. Every time they fetch an update, grab a config file update... they log your details. Chrome may be the worst on this. Outshines the NSA in how much data it collects I suspect. (See point below about inspecting browser traffic, for ways to actually see this happening in real time.)
- Pointing out bugs, design improvements... can be a long hard road. These guys often appear to have an active hatred of user feedback. If you're prepared to take more time than seems necessary and wait for maybe a year or two, it's worth doing though. Also be ready for a mindless decision from somebody has been tasked to "clean out" the backlog (to call some of these folk clueless would be too generous)!!
- The W3C etc. have ongoing discussions on these things. They are generous enough to let us listen in. It's worth taking a look if you're serious about what lies behind browser design. Many competing minds, some arbitrary decisions, just to keep things moving. After taking such a look you might feel more sympathy for all involved. Their work is not easy.
- It's well worth taking a look at your browser sessions with a tool like Fiddler (debugging Proxy that shows you a lot of detail). The useful content of, possibly, most pages, is swamped by the burden of unwanted nonsense that they carry. As Albert says, in his post.
- (Beyond the browser) If you analyse pages you might find that many are distracting and reduce your ability to understand them easily. That's deliberate. Adverts and "graphical design" are, as usually done, deliberately meant to catch your attention. It would be cool to have decent ways to avoid that. (Ways that are good/great for both content maker and reader.)
- The browser essentially treats a user as a pure consumer. No interaction, no original though expected. In fact they seem to actively suppress such things. I much prefer the idea of active reading than the passive form they seemingly want to force onto me!
- It is possible to filter out a lot of junk by taking charge of your DNS system. There are a surprising number of URI roots that never serve anything but unwanted material.
- Browser extension technologies may not be as usable as you first thought.
- It is possible to seize some control. If you do go down that road, be aware that the browser makers may seem to fight you every step of the way. If you look at their business models you can understand that they may not have much interest in your goals!
- That's enough...