Tips for a better website
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Imagine if the following happened to you.
You're about to fill up your car, an old one, at the service station. All of a sudden, the service station attendant jumps out of his booth to tell you: "Excuse me, but your car is really old. I suggest you buy a new one. But hey, while you're here, you can still fill up."
What would you do?
- Buy a new car.
- Fill up and not think about it anymore. After all, the guy did give you some good advice.
- Drive off while trying to run over the guy's foot to punish him for his rudeness.
- Drive off and never come back.
- Drive off, over the guy's foot, never come back and tell all your friends about the gas station attendant's strange idea of service.
My guess is it would be one of the last 3 choices.
Only on the web
The scenario described above would of course never happen in real life. There isn't a shop owner out there who'd be that stupid.
But not so on the web. The many users of Internet Explorer 6 are taking a beating lately. A lot of websites are telling IE6 users they have a ludicrously old browser that's stopping them from enjoying all the interesting features of their great website.
So they should upgrade. Now.
I don't think so.
Stop pushing your visitors to upgrade
You are not going to change your visitors. They don't have to adapt to you. You have to adapt to them. If you still have a lot of IE6 users among your visitors, make sure your site works in IE6.
In Belgium, IE6 is still used by 1 out of 6 surfers. That's not exactly a number you can just ignore. Do you really think all these people will upgrade their browser to look at your wonderful website? Have you ever thought about why these people are still using IE6?
- They've got a computer from work. They don't have administrator rights so they can't upgrade.
- They don't know anything about computers. They just use it to surf the web.
- They're afraid of downloading and installing upgrades.
You are not going to change that. Don't stigmatise your visitor. Just let him surf on your site. If there's a certain feature that really doesn't work in IE6, tell the visitor on that particular page. And tell him nicely. Real nicely. That will help your business. Putting up a big red flag telling people you don't like their dated browser isn't.
P.S.: This article was written in 2009. Belgium too has since moved on from IE6.