We all use it several times a day on different devices and since it was invented in 1990 at CERN, equipped with a graphic interface, it handles the interaction with any page published on the web.
We are talking about the Browser, how it works and how it should be used during Campaigns in TRYBER.
How the Browser Works
The first successful browser was Mosaic, renamed and distributed online in 1994 as Netscape Navigator and followed, in 1995, by the much better-known Internet Explorer distributed and installed together with Windows 95.
The evolution of the Web from the ‘Static Web’, or 1.0, to the near future with the ‘Ubiquitous Web’, or 4.0, has necessitated the evolution of browsers with the addition of many features such as cookie management, storage of browsing history, the possibility of adding extensions and plug-ins to extend functionality, the ability to save passwords, customisation, and much more.
Today, as we are in the phase of the ‘semantic Web‘ or 3.0, a browser must be able to process quickly, saving resources, different scripting codes using cookies and cache (here the dedicated article), preserving user privacy in the management of personal, navigation and usage data.
What is incognito navigation
Let us see together what a browser saves during normal Internet browsing:
- Cookies, made up of small text files, saved on the user’s device, with information to be recalled in the event of subsequent access, such as user preferences, login credentials, etc;
- the Browsing History with the history of visited websites, useful for reopening previously visited pages or resuming interrupted browsing;
- the Cache with the data saved, temporarily, on the user’s device to speed up the loading of web pages;
- Passwords, so that it is not necessary to enter them again during subsequent visits, and only if the user has chosen to activate their saving;
- form data, such as a registration or payment form, so that they do not have to be re-entered in the future;
- display preferences, such as text size, background colour and other aspects of web page display;
- Bookmarks, or favourites, so as to save the addresses of websites of most use to the user;
- Location or notification data, to receive personalised information such as weather forecasts or notifications based on one’s interests, only if activated and confirmed by the user.
All saved information makes browsing faster and more personalised, and although it is possible to delete or deactivate the storage of some or all of this data in the settings, it can be accessed by anyone with access to the same device and can be used, online, by third parties to track the user’s browsing activities.
One way around the saving of this information is through incognito surfing. This function, present in many modern browsers, is often used when one wishes to maintain the privacy of his online activities.
In this mode, browsing history, cookies, passwords and other sensitive data are not saved, and can be useful in situations such as using a public or shared computer, or if you wish to maintain privacy when researching sensitive or personal topics, etc.
This type of surfing does not make the user completely anonymous on the web because Internet Service Providers (ISPs), company networks and any websites visited can monitor the user’s activity; furthermore, it does not protect against security threats, such as malware or phishing, so the use of antivirus and anti-malware software and checking the security of the websites visited is always recommended.
To use incognito browsing, simply open the browser and select the ‘New incognito window’ option from the menu, or use, with the browser open, the key combination Ctrl+Shift+N on Windows or Command+Shift+N on Mac.
Why is ‘incognito’ navigation not recommended in Bug Finding CPs?
It is important to remember that during a Bug Finding and User Experience Campaign, unless specifically requested in the Manual, incognito navigation should not be used because it can cause false Bugs.
Here are some examples:
- the absence of optimisation due to the saving of navigation data may lead to slowdowns when loading web pages;
- the adoption of stricter security criteria may disable third-party extensions or the correct interpretation of scripting code on the page, generating incorrect behaviour;
- the restrictions in place, in order to limit interaction with the user, could inhibit functions related to localisation, notification and activation of multimedia devices (microphone, cam, etc.), generating incorrect behaviour.
In conclusion, incognito browsing offers greater privacy than normal browsing and can be adopted by everyone in specific situations.
During the participation in any Campaign on TRYBER, unless expressly requested in the Manual, the normal browsing mode must be used so as to replicate, during the test, the interaction between the user and the digital product as it is designed, without limitations or behaviours imposed by the browser or third components.