There is no reason for anyone to use Internet Explorer

IE is a very bad browser to develop for. There are whole sites devoted to enumerating it's CSS bugs, and more sites dedicated to IE's JavaScript memory leak bugs. And there are at least 3 major browsers that anyone can use, for free, on Windows instead of IE:
There are little niche browsers out there, like Flock (there are certainly other niche browsers, but I don't know about them).

And if you're gonna use IE, then at least upgrade to 7. IE 5, 5.5, and 6 are just awful.

Why don't designers and programmers just tell visitors: "look buddy, if you want to see this site, you're gonna need to ditch IE. That's life."

Because it takes balls to say something like that, and most companies don't have any. It's cheaper and easier to pay some poor schmuck big bucks to fix browser incompatibilities than it is to tell your customer that they have to take 10 minutes to install a better browser.

People like to think themselves compassionate and kind. Well, realize that by continuing to use old buggy browsers you are causing real pain and suffering for web developers. I don't see why some people would never wear fur but would continue to use IE 6.

[Update: Alex commented that changing browsers is scary. She's right. So to make it less scary I suggest that people make Firefox look like IE 6, as described here. Indeed, it would be in all web developers self-interest to make a neatly installable package that includes these changes.]


Alexandra said...

Firefox is new and strange and scary, and worst of all it never tells me how to use itself! I am a typical end-user and new technology frightens and confuses me. I know that people use the internet to scam others and steal IDs, so I refuse to give my personal information to my bank website, but I don't have any problems with giving my SS# to anyone who promises me a free iPod. I run Norton Anti-Virus to keep my PC free from viruses I might pick up at the porno sites I visit, and I routinely try to "Shoot the Duck" or whatever I'm supposed to click, shoot, or grab. I don't know what an OS is. Microsoft is my woobie and IE keeps all the internet bogeys at bay. Silly programmers! :)

josh said...

I hear ya. I know how disconcerting it can be to use different software - I've experienced it myself, believe it or not! A new operating is particularly...weird. It's like finding out your entire silicon-based reality is nothing but an elaborate convention that can change at any moment. Reality hurts, I guess.

But seriously, it would be a worthy Firefox project to mimic precisely the visual attributes of IE. Such mimicry has done wonders (I would guess) for adoption of other software. Such a project already exists (I've updated the post with a link), but it needs to be easier to install.