annoyances internet

But This Is A Brand New Computer?!

While doing various demos with clients I can’t help but notice one scary trend. Client usually checks the demo page from his or hers computer, prepares a list of issues and then we meet to go over them. A lot of clients complain right off the start that their web site doesn’t look exactly like it should or behaves strangely. The reason, of course is not the fact that the web sites we designed aren’t compatible with their browsers, but their browsers being dramatically out of date.

There were so many times when this had happened, it actually became one of the internal internet memes. The phrase “but this is a brand new computer, we only bought it year and a half ago” isn’t that funny anymore. People are becoming increasingly overprotective of their computers, calling them their “friends” and “babies” – “my baby is sick, can you fix it”, “my dear friend have been acting strange lately, maybe he’d caught a virus or something”.

Worse yet, when you point to those issues you face further complaints that you are trying to avoid your responsibilities and you should make web site work with any browser on Earth. While in general it is true, the task is all but impossible – try stuffing that intro flash movie down the throat of Lynx and you will get the idea :). Or, more realistic scenario – the famous Internet Explorer 6.0, that some people still think is good enough browser. In fact, according to statistics on my most traffic-heavy clients’ web sites the IE 6 is 4th most popular browser, after IE 7, IE 8 and Firefox (all versions).

Unfortunately, quite a few things are simply impossible to achieve in this world. One of them is the browser compatibility. However, there’s a pretty good chance that if you make something look critical and urgent and very important overall – people would listen, look and take action.

So from now on if you venture to this web site using one of the older browsers (Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox are supported at the moment) you will see a bright yellow bar on the top of the page saying that your browser is old and needs to be updated with a link to a page where you can choose what to do as well as a link to page where I explain why it is important to keep the browser up to date. If you are using the latest and greatest but just anxious to to see what the page looks like – feel free to look here:


Google Chrome Is On The Scene


This Blog in Google Chrome
This Blog in Google Chrome

So the Google got themselves a powerful ally. Aside from heavily sponsoring Firefox Google has now created another entity of its own.

Not to bash Google in any way, but the product (even though it’s beta) seems scarce of features. My personal annoyances follow, but in general – I am overly satisfied with the way this new browser works. The speed alone can make up for half of the list below…

– I want to see is the status bar. Aha! It only shows up when needed – i.e. when you mouse over the link or during the page load process. Neat, but a little… unexpected.

– I want to block that annoying advertising. Please, give me my AdBlock! Now! I mean it!

– I am Firefox addict, so right-clicking on the link and choosing SECOND option must open new tab. I explicitly trained myself to avoid first option – to open link in a new window, I want my links in new tabs. Please, let me switch these options.

– Flock is a foul creature, a bastard son of Firefox and social media that no one wants to deal with. Please don’t use it’s annoying yellow information bars on top – I get enough of those in IE 7.

– I really miss all the progress bars… Even from “teh dialup times” those bars were entertaining – for all those moments when I was patiently waiting for page to load. My cable connection isn’t directly hooked into Tier 1 Premium Bandwidth provider, so I get to wait sometimes. Please, give me back my nostalgic piece of history…

– It’s 2008 for crying out loud. Why do I still have to go into settings and change default encoding from Western ISO-8859-1 to Unicode UTF-8 ? Is there any specific reason for it or the whole world just started speaking Engish exclusively?

– Last, but not least. Could you possibly change that annoying blue-and-white color scheme? No, green and white would be even more annoying.

There are couple of more issues I probably missed from the first glance, but overall I have a feeling that this is a very robust product with plenty of features to follow. It may look scarce on features, but doesn’t Google’s own first page look the same?

P.S. This post has been created in Google Chrome… 🙂


Browser Wars – More Analysis

Browser Wars 2 - Small Business, Marketing and Web Design Blog As I was looking a the chart in my previous post (Are You Tired Of Browser Wars?) I realized that even this skim on data can provide enough for cheap marketing analysis. Since we’re not presenting a case study here let’s look at possibilities that small business can extract from data they already have at their possession.

The chart on the left presents the browser shares for this blog. The picture is very different. Internet Explorer has got only 56% of visits with 41% belonging to IE 7 (dark teal piece). Only 15% of you, readers of this blog, hadn’t update your Internet Explorer to the latest version, keeping your version 6 (green piece on a diagram). You are exposing yourself to much more vectors of attack then those who have IE 7. Total share of all Firefox visitors is a whopping 40% (dark orange piece of pie). Of course the picture is a bit skewed by my own visits, since I write posts via WordPress admin. But 40% looks too damn impressive. The little salmon-colored piece is a representation of Safari users – 2%. Opera – less then 1%.

What looks interesting to me is that while this blog is all about small business, most people who read it are much more computer-savvy then visitors to our client’s web site from last post. If you a starting entrepreneur just by looking at your stats you can learn a lot more about your audience. If your audience is computer savvy – you can talk more technical to them, use more sophisticated online selling tools and techniques. If your audience looks like the picture from previous post’s diagram – then you should resort to simple and proven methods, like simple contact form, phone contact, direct mailing and so on.

On the other hand – this may be your chance to find out that despite your efforts the audience that looks at your web site is just the wrong crowd.