I don't pretend to like Internet Explorer 6 - in fact quite the reverse - it makes me boiling mad that web developers still have to support an ancient browser. The sooner we can get rid of it, the better. So here's my little idea...
This article is really just thinking aloud - I'm interested to see what people think, and since my brainwaves always have fatal flaws that I don't see in advance, interested to see who can point them out. (Incidentally, if you're familiar with the reasons why IE6 still has market share, you can skip the first half of this article.)First, a bit of background
So... you've just released your latest web app, and you want to support those 25% (or whatever) of users who still use IE6, but you don't want to spend an inordinate amount of dev time supporting what is a shrinking market.There have been various suggestions
that we should just display some sort of banner pointing the user to browser upgrades or alternatives, but is that always feasible? To my mind there are two main reasons people don't upgrade from IE6:
- They don't have administrative rights to do so (for example in a corporate setting);
- They don't look at or click any upgrade notices, or indeed understand what a browser is.
People in group #1 cannot
upgrade or change browser (except Chrome - more later), so suggesting they upgrade is pointless. The people in group #2 simply don't realise that a browser is a choice, don't realise that a browser can be changed, andd for many of them, don't realise their browser is even called 'Internet Explorer' - remember that the default setup for most ISPs is to rename the IE shortcut to be something like 'Click to Launch Bastardo Broadband'. Telling them they can upgrade is just more words on the screen, getting in the way of LOLcats or whatever - "Blah blah blah blah upgrade blah blah, OK / Cancel?" - to which the answer is "Hmmm... well... Cancel I guess - I just want to use the intarweb".What's better than an upgrade option?
Simply put: no mention of the word 'upgrade', and no mention of the word 'option'. Just a done deal.You see, browsers don't have to install in Program Files, and they don't have to install via a lengthy and pointless install wizard. Installers can be short, quick, and not require admin privileges. I'm thinking of Chrome here. (Yes I know Firefox can run from anywhere - but that's not typical, hence my focus on Chrome).Instead of a banner vaguely informing users that "they've got the wrong browser" and "they could be free" (which are basically insulting and uninteresting statements to them), we just present the statement: "To use this website, click here"....Where "here" is a link to a custom Chrome (or other non-admin-install-required browser) installer, which does the following:
- Quick EULA, in case Mrs Miggins (aka "the user") tries to sue Google;
- Browser security pop-up, which we can't (and shouldn't) change;
- Shows a progress window, showing install progress;
- Places a shortcut on the desktop which launches your website in Chrome;
- Finally, executes said shortcut, displaying your website in Chrome.
And so, with two clicks of "OK", the user is now happily viewing your web app. (And who knows, maybe they'll start using Chrome for other browsing?)Any thoughts?