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Jun 05

IE Wishes; Time for a “Best Viewed In Any of These..” day?

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IE Wishes

I have been hearing the same tune recently, and it escalates: “Man, if we could just not worry about IE 6.” It sounds familar. Every few years, we get another popular but lagging usage that holds us back.

Imagine if the majority of people were still using phones from 2001 too:

Oh wait, sometimes it does feel that way doesn’t it?

We shouldn’t be blaming IE 6 itself of course. When it was released it was a great browser. We can’t forget how Microsoft had a large part to play in pushing the Web back in the day, bringing us DHTML itself, and offering up features that never caught on as people saw them as proprietary (behaviours are awesome for example).

So, we can’t blame the IE 6 engineers. We can get a little frustrated with the fact that new machines still come with IE 6 installed on them, even though IE 7 is out there, and IE 8 is making us all feel like Microsoft could care again.

Frank, Microsoft needs to push the button. The last four times I have had to do tech support for family or friends (I need the “just because I work for Google doesn’t mean that I can fix your computer” t-shirt) they were running IE 6. I couldn’t believe it. Some of these were fairly savvy folks too.

Say we get Microsoft, and IT folk, to push the button and push out IE 7 to the masses, we will still be short on a large part of the users. Namely, the folks across the world that are running Windows illegally. Will this ever end?

Maybe it is time for large sites to start a trend. On the first Monday of the month, when user comes to your site for the first time with a browser that isn’t Grade A you show them some kind of notice that “If you like this site running Browser X, you would like it so much more if you download any of these browsers”.

This isn’t about IE 6. This is about all browsers that are low on the pack. IE 6 happens to be the one that is talked about the most as it has the huge market share as well as being painful. This also isn’t about picking one browser. We aren’t saying “Download Firefox!” We are talking about downloading ANY grade A browser. Firefox, WebKit, or even IE 7!!!!

I never liked seeing the “Better viewed in IE/FF” images, but I think this is different. At some point we need to rev our platform. It is like the cars on the road. It isn’t enough to just improve fuel efficiencies in cars. We then need to get people to get rid of their gas guzzlers and buy the responsible one!

6 Responses to “IE Wishes; Time for a “Best Viewed In Any of These..” day?”

  1. Charlie Wood Says:

    We’ve found that developing for a Mac-only audience means never having to say you’re sorry that Microsoft software sucks.



    PS. Sorry, Microsoft.

  2. Jeff Schiller Says:

    Dion – I decided to do that starting in February as I was tired of waiting for Internet Explorer to support modern web standards. The site content renders but the target audience is any browser that supports SVG and XHTML (over half of my audience). What’s funny is that my ‘disclaimer’ is very similarly worded to your suggestion.

    In fairness, I should state that users only get that disclaimer if their browser does not support SVG (therefore IE with Adobe SVG Viewer or Renesis or Mozie will not see that statement).

  3. Jeff Schiller Says:

    Couple more points that came to mind after clicking Submit:

    1) I prefer to target standards that are widely deployed. As you say, this is not only about one browser, it’s about any browser that doesn’t support SVG (in my case).

    2) The biggest problem I’ve seen with IE6 entrenchment is the enterprise. There are a large number of enterprise applications that were built specifically for IE6 during the period after it won the First Browser War until only a year or two ago. I don’t think Joe Blow Shmuckatelli would mind at all if IE7 was auto-downloaded to his PC, it’s more of the corporate intranets that pose a hurdle.

  4. Ignacio Coloma Says:

    Last year I suddenly realized that I have dedicated entire weeks to work for microsoft (for free) to make my projects work on IE6. Since then, we have evangelized all our customers to install and only use firefox, and our bug count dropped drastically.

    If they don’t climb in, IE will simply not matter anymore. I am not switching to ie 8, no matter what. There is not a technical reason, just some vendetta feeling about getting my time back.

  5. SchizoDuckie Says:

    Actually i think the only way we can phase out IE6 is to just make sites look crappy in it (well that won’t be a problem LOL )

    If the customer complains, you (and you company) can fix it at an hourly rate, or download some a-grade browser. This and this alone is the only way that we can get large corporations to upgrade. Use a better browser, or pay up, you do the math :)

  6. Michael Says:

    I’ve thought about developing an Adobe AIR version precisely for those people what work in businesses with software tied to IE. Their IT department may still not let them download the AIR app, but at least I’m providing an option.

    My problem is that my app is slow on IE6, which makes me look bad.

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