Dear Web User: Please Upgrade Your Browser

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Shopping. Social networking. Emailing. Reading. Finding directions. Banking. Researching. Those are some of the most common tasks people perform on the World Wide Web. You’ve probably done all of these things yourself at some point. So if you’re like many people, you probably do these things every single week (and many of them even every day).

This blog you’re reading now, Smashing Magazine, normally publishes content that’s intended for graphic designers, Web designers, and Web developers of varying skill levels. But today, this article is for the rest of you—the non-programmers, the everyday Web users.

We at Smashing Magazine, along with designers and developers worldwide, want you to have the absolute best possible experience on the Web. In fact, in the design and development community, we spend countless hours every week discussing and researching the standards and practices that we know will make your experience on the Web infinitely greater.

But the browser you’re using could be limiting that potential. So please read on, so you can learn how to drastically improve your experience on the Web.

Your Browser Is Too Old

Everyone that accesses Web pages on a desktop computer uses a Web browser. Without a Web browser you cannot view or interact with websites. How do you personally access websites like Facebook and YouTube? You might commonly use the program that opens when you click the big blue “e” icon on your desktop. Here’s what it looks like:

Internet Explorer Browser Logo
This is the logo for Internet Explorer, a Web browser.

This “e” icon is not a shortcut to a generic “internet” or “Web” program. It is a shortcut to a Web browser made by Microsoft, called “Internet Explorer” (also referred to as “IE”). Over the past 17 years, this browser has been the most popular Web browser. At one time, it was arguably the best browser you could use. But that is not true anymore.

Internet Explorer is currently at version 9, and version 10 is supposed to be officially released some time this year. But most people are not using IE9—most Web users that use Microsoft’s browser are still using a less stable, insecure, slow version of IE (either IE8 or something older).

The truth is, even IE9 (which is a huge improvement over previous versions of Internet Explorer) is not as up-to-date as other browsers. So if you’re still using some version of Internet Explorer, we strongly recommend that you upgrade to a different browser. To help you upgrade, we have some options for you to consider.

But before we introduce those other browsers to you, let’s quickly cover some reasons why older browsers like IE7 and IE8 aren’t as good.

What’s Wrong With Old Browsers?

Old browsers (especially Internet Explorer versions 6, 7, and 8) are less stable, and much more vulnerable to viruses, spyware, malware, and other security issues. Those are obviously big problems to be concerned about—especially for people who shop online. So security alone is a very good reason to upgrade. But there’s more to it than that.

Old Browsers Are Slow and More Likely to Crash

Firstly, old browsers are very slow. Every Web page that loads in a browser has to perform a number of different tasks. One of those tasks is the process of loading different files. These files include images, programming scripts, and other resources that help improve the look and functionality of the website you’re visiting. Old browsers do not perform these tasks with the same speed as new browsers. This makes your experience on the Web considerably slow, and can sometimes cause your browser to crash or freeze.

IE8 not responding message
Browsers like IE8 will freeze and crash more often than newer browsers.

Old Browsers Can’t Display Many New Websites

The other problem that old browsers have is that their display capabilities are very limited. For example, in an older browser, in order to show a simple animation, the person creating the website would have to use either an embedded video or Flash file (like those found on YouTube) or else a lot of extra programming code (called JavaScript). In either case, this means that the page will take much longer to load, thus harming your experience on that website.

New browsers support new Web technologies (like HTML5 and CSS3). These languages serve as a foundation for many websites today, and for virtually all new websites and Web apps. But unfortunately, many of these new websites will neither look nor function in the same way in old browsers like IE8.

To demonstrate this problem, take a look at the two images below. These images are screenshots taken from an infographic Web page that covers Rainforest Deforestation1. The first image shows the page as it appears in IE8:

A Web page displayed in IE8
A Web page displayed in IE8.

Now look at the same page in a new browser like Chrome, or Firefox:

The same Web page displayed in Google Chrome
The same Web page displayed in Google Chrome.

IE8 has many problems on this page: Many of the graphical elements are not appearing, all the animations are missing, and even some of the text looks misaligned. This is caused by the fact that the page is built with new Web design technologies that old browsers like IE8 don’t support.

New Browser Options

Now that you understand why it’s highly recommended to upgrade an old browser, let’s take a look at what options you have for a new browser, and what strengths these browsers have. Please notice that switching to one of these browsers is free and won’t take more than a couple of minutes.

Google Chrome2
In May 2012, according to at least one statistics website, Google Chrome (all versions combined) became the most popular browser in the world (compared to IE, all versions combined). Chrome was first released in 2008, and has a number of advantages over old browsers like IE8.

Google Chrome Logo3

Mozilla Firefox4
Firefox has been the main competitor to Internet Explorer since the mid-2000′s. Although Google’s Chrome has become more popular in recent years, Firefox is a great browser with many advantages over old browsers.

Mozilla Firefox Logo5

Opera6
Compared to other browsers, Opera isn’t used as much, but it has been around since the mid-90′s. Opera has always been at the forefront of browser innovation and supports many of the latest technologies and features that make websites faster and more feature-rich.

Opera Logo7

Apple’s Safari8
This is the same browser that’s commonly used on iPhones and iPads. Safari’s features are very similar to Google’s Chrome, and has been around since 2003.

Safari Logo9

Why Are New Browsers Better?

The browsers listed above have a number of advantages over older browsers, including:

  • Far fewer instances of crashing or freezing.
  • Much more secure from virus, malware, and browser hijacking attacks.
  • Much faster page-loading.
  • Larger page-viewing area.
  • A large variety of useful optional plugins and add-ons that add extra features to improve Web browsing.
  • Unlike IE9 and the upcoming IE10, they can be installed on Windows XP.
  • New browsers will automatically update to the latest version, or will notify you to download an update.

About Automatic Updating

The last point in the list above mentions the fact that new browsers will automatically notify you of an update—this is a good thing. When you have a browser that’s kept up-to-date automatically, you get a number of important benefits in addition to those already mentioned. These include:

  • You’ll rarely, if ever, come across a website that says “your browser cannot view this website”.
  • If any known security vulnerabilities are present, they will be fixed automatically.
  • Every time your browser is upgraded, your browser becomes faster, meaning that the time you spend waiting for pages to load will be minimal.

Old browsers like IE7 and IE8 will not automatically notify you to update, so if you continue to use an old browser, your experience on the Web will become less secure (and less enjoyable as the months go by).

Extensions and Add-Ons

As mentioned in the bullet list above, one of the features of new browsers is the ability to add extensions, plugins, and add-ons. The Chrome Web Store10 features hundreds of useful extensions, including:

Chrome Web Store14
Extensions in the Chrome Web Store

What about add-ons for Firefox15? Well, in addition to extensions similar to those mentioned above for Chrome, some popular and useful choices include:

  • Video DownloadHelper16, which lets you easily download and convert video, audio, and photos from YouTube and similar websites.
  • WOT—Safe Surfing17, which shows you which websites you can trust, based on millions of users’ experiences.
  • FastestFox18, which helps you save time and increase productivity by speeding up repetitive tasks inside the browser.

However, Chrome and Firefox are not the only new browsers that offer these types of extensions and add-ons. You can browse the extensions for Safari19 and for Opera20, if you choose one of those browsers instead.

“All My Bookmarks Are In Internet Explorer!”

Everyone has bookmarks (or “Favorites”, as they’re called in IE) in the browser they use regularly, and it’s a valid concern if you don’t want to switch because all of your bookmarks are in your old browser. But moving your bookmarks from the old browser to the new one is not difficult at all.

For instructions on how to transfer your bookmarks to your new browser, check out the Browsing Better21 website. When you visit the page, click on the icon for the browser you’re currently using, and follow the instructions from the images that appear.

Exporting Favourites in IE8
You can easily move your bookmarks from IE to your new browser.

“I Won’t Upgrade—I’m Happy With Internet Explorer!”

Even after everything you’ve read above, you might still have reservations about upgrading to a different browser. Well, there’s one final option you may consider. You can keep using Internet Explorer while getting a similar speed and viewing experience as found in Google Chrome by installing an add-on to Internet Explorer called Chrome Frame22.

Chrome Frame23
Chrome Frame makes Internet Explorer act like a modern browser.

Chrome Frame is an add-on that enables new Web technologies like HTML5 and CSS3 in Internet Explorer versions 6, 7, 8, and 9. As long as the Web page you’re viewing has a specific piece of code in it, you’ll get an experience very similar to Google Chrome—even when using an older version of Internet Explorer.

Installing Chrome Frame is fast, easy, and free. Chrome Frame is completely invisible and will not change anything about the way you access Web pages in Internet Explorer. But it will provide the same speed and viewing experience that Google’s Chrome browser has, without needing to switch browsers. (However, if you’re in a business environment, you might want to contact your system administrator before installing it because some legacy sites might not be displayed properly. — thanks for the note, Jochem Bokkers!)

What About Locked-Down Systems?

If you’re on a system at your place of employment where you’re not able to upgrade or download a new browser, Chrome Frame is a viable option. You don’t need any special administrator privileges to install Chrome Frame24, so you can keep using the same version of Internet Explorer, and almost instantly have a far superior browsing experience that’s identical to using the latest version of Google Chrome.

Conclusion

There are countless reasons to upgrade your old browser and start using something new and up-to-date. So trust us when we say that your experience on the Web will be infinitely better if you choose to do this.

Whatever you’re doing on the Web—reading email, shopping, banking, or anything else—a new browser will allow your experience to be safer, faster, and much more beautiful.

(jvb)

Footnotes

  1. 1 http://www.jonathan-krause.de/rainforest
  2. 2 https://www.google.com/chrome
  3. 3 https://www.google.com/chrome
  4. 4 http://getfirefox.com
  5. 5 http://getfirefox.com
  6. 6 http://www.opera.com
  7. 7 http://www.opera.com
  8. 8 http://www.apple.com/safari/
  9. 9 http://www.apple.com/safari/
  10. 10 https://chrome.google.com/webstore/category/extensions
  11. 11 https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/nmameahlembdcigphohgiodcgjomcgeo
  12. 12 https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/ciagpekplgpbepdgggflgmahnjgiaced
  13. 13 https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/mgijmajocgfcbeboacabfgobmjgjcoja
  14. 14 https://www.google.com/chrome
  15. 15 https://addons.mozilla.org/
  16. 16 https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/video-downloadhelper/
  17. 17 https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/wot-safe-browsing-tool/
  18. 18 https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/fastestfox-browse-faster/
  19. 19 https://extensions.apple.com/
  20. 20 https://addons.opera.com/e
  21. 21 http://browsingbetter.com/#saving
  22. 22 http://www.google.com/chromeframe
  23. 23 http://www.google.com/chromeframe
  24. 24 http://www.chromium.org/developers/how-tos/chrome-frame-getting-started/chrome-frame-faq#TOC-Do-I-need-to-be-an-Administrator-to-install-Google-Chrome-Frame-

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Louis Lazaris is a freelance web developer and author based in Toronto, Canada. He blogs about front-end code on Impressive Webs and curates Web Tools Weekly, a weekly newsletter for front-end developers.

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  1. 1

    Thank you so much for publishing this.

    0
  2. 2

    Great idea, but I stopped reading when you started pimping your web design book to “non-programmers and everyday Web users” at the end of the first section, before you started to explain how they might actually address the problem. Remove the “side note” and it’s really useful. With it there the whole page looks cynical.

    -12
    • 3

      that’s just an innocent ad. if you stop reading because of ads, you might lose a lot of cool info, bro :)

      1
    • 4

      Just an idea: Put a checkbox / remove button for the ad for those who have already bought the book or are not interested. Shouldn’t be that hard to do :)

      2
    • 5

      So you or your clients don’t use any advertising on your/their websites? SMH.

      -3
  3. 6

    Maxthon is worth mentioning: http://www.maxthon.com/

    It’s currently top of the HTML5 charts: http://html5test.com/results/desktop.html

    -3
  4. 10

    Pascale Vanbutsele

    July 10, 2012 3:32 pm

    As you asked in yesterday’s post, I’m going to tweet, yammer and email this article to all my work colleagues.
    When I talked to them about this issue, I was amazed to find how many didn’t know how to do an update or where to find an other browser. With your article I don’t have to explain it to every single person ! Thank you.

    0
  5. 11

    Believe me, I’m all for people upgrading their browsers. But I’ve worked in enough large corporate/government environments to know that’s not always a possibility. Many such organizations have very strict controls on what users can access and install on their systems, including sites that allow downloading of software.

    Analyses of usage stats that are compiled on an hour-by-hour basis consistently show that the peak period of old IE usage directly correlates with standard working hours in North America (10 AM ET – 4PM PT). On evenings and weekends in North America, third party browser and latest-flavor IE usage outperforms legacy IE usage.

    So instead of chanting the same “upgrade, upgrade, upgrade” mantra to Joe Webuser (who probably has already upgraded the browser on his computer at home), we need to get the enterprise and government establishments on board with upgrading their systems, or at least offering their personnel more browser choice.

    Additionally, we as web developers will need to keep developing for the old cruft out there. Yes, that really, really sucks, but no one ever said this job was easy. Also, by convincing our clients to accept techniques such as progressive enhancement, maybe we can at least free ourselves from the shackles of “this website has to look the same in every browser.” (See: http://dowebsitesneedtolookexactlythesameineverybrowser.com/)

    I’m sorry, I’m just so tired of seeing articles like this that over-simplify the legacy browser issue and believe that by just telling people to upgrade their browsers, the problem will magically go away. It won’t.

    41
    • 12

      @Tracy it’s about a shift in perception. If we can convince average users that old IE needs to go at home then it has a domino effect where people in decision making positions get asked the question “why are we still using an outdated browser here at work?” on a regular basis. How fast did Flash lose mindshare when Steve Jobs wrote his infamous letter? It’s astounding how fast things change when the right people say the right things.

      11
    • 13

      There is still a good percentage of people out there who do use IE as their go-to browser, perhaps because they’re so accustomed to it at work. Yes we have to continue coding for these legacy browsers, but it’s a pain. ;)

      0
    • 14

      Kevinjohn Gallagher

      July 10, 2012 9:58 pm

      “I’m just so tired of seeing articles like this that over-simplify the legacy browser issue and believe that by just telling people to upgrade their browsers, the problem will magically go away. It won’t.”

      THIS !

      (well said tracy)

      8
    • 15

      Good point. I’d like to add that the typical enterprise excuse for not upgrading is kind of weak. “Our systems still depend on IE6″. So we’ll do nothing. Not upgrade browsers. Year after year of inaction.

      What’s the strategy here? The enterprise is going to have to face the upgrade anyway, clearly inaction will not solve it. I can understand that an enterprise is slow in this aspect, but it seems many are expecting the problem to dissapear automatically. It won’t. You need to make sure your enterprise systems are capable of being used in anything other than IE6. That requires action. Not inaction.

      0
      • 16

        Answer honestly, do you work in enterprise?

        The fact that you really can’t understand the needs of enterprise, and the reason they move slowly on issues like this, makes me think you may not have any experience.

        -3
        • 17

          First of all, making insulting comments without knowing a thing about me or my context shows your inexperience, in having a basic conversation that is.

          And actually yes, I do work in enterprise. Always have, in Fortune 500 companies only. Where I work now we don’t have the IE6 problem, we have the IE8 problem. And I will stand by my words: it is silly to wait. The problem does not solve itself over time. If you’re stuck with systems that only work on IEx, you need to start upgrading/replacing those systems.

          Meanwhile, you can apply creative solutions: install a secondary browser, use ChromeTab, or use a VM. Bottom line: you don’t have to hold the entire enterprise back on a decent browsing experience because of a handful of legacy systems.

          Given your vast experience, I look forward to your superior solutions.

          0
          • 18

            Something to consider is the proliferation of smartphones. People are doing more personal browsing with personal devices.

            Make a good mobile experience and you can sidestep the enterprise issue. IT is finding the silver lining in byod (bring your own device) culture where they no longer need to support employees personal browsing on company hardware. A mixed blessing but one filled with opportunity.

            0
  6. 19

    i want to make stand for a small browser called Maxthon. I used it for the past 3 years and it’s really great. It has a great workflow and the customizatin is just great. Take a look.

    -12
    • 20

      I’ve used Maxthon in the past (long, long ago) and can understand why you like it, but sadly it’s IE-based. This alone is a good case to switch to something else.

      0
      • 21

        Oh good lord. IE alone is not a reason to quit. Old versions of IE – sure I get where you are coming from, but there has to be more basis to your argument than “sadly it’s IE based”. The new versions of IE are fantastic. Wish folks would stop bashing MS and just move on already.

        -3
        • 22

          Actually, IE alone is very much a reason to quit. Every version of IE (even 9) is outdated compared to Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera. It doesn’t mean they are unusable browsers, it just means there’s a wealth of better browsers out there, so why settle for the worst?

          None of this has anything to do with MS bashing. It’s IE bashing. I don’t hate MS, I hate IE.

          5
          • 23

            Oh please, IE 9 and soon to be 10 is doing just fine and have plenty of advanced features. You’re judging it by your own standards. Oh it doesn’t support your fancy webkit-*** or moz-*** property. Well what a surprise!
            What about the lack of hardware accelerated animation? No? Nobody mentions that? You can only play your webkit demos on a fast computer to run smoothly?

            Look, multiple browsers are just fine, some are better than others in some areas, but you should support everything that your visitors are using. If you think you should notify them for an upgrade, great! But do not become so closed minded as to offer alternatives simply because you as a developer think it’s better.

            Further reading:
            http://www.webmonkey.com/2012/02/webkit-isnt-breaking-the-web-you-are/

            -5
          • 24

            @Will. I can’t reply to you directly, the comment system does not allow for it.

            I didn’t say IE9 or IE10 is a bad browser. I’m saying two things:

            - Even if they’re good, the others are better
            - Even if they’re good, they don’t auto update, which means they won’t be any good soon

            And buzz of with calling every new web feature “gimmicks”, or “fancy”. These are very real improvement that help the web forward, both developers and users.

            4
      • 25

        I stand corrected — having looked into the new version, it turns out Maxthon uses Webkit by default. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maxthon#Version_3.x

        1
  7. 26

    I completely agree that if you are using old versions of IE, the time is nigh! Upgrade!

    But where I object to this article is that it comes across as a Jeremiad of sorts against Internet Explorer:

    “The truth is, even IE9 (which is a huge improvement over previous versions of Internet Explorer) is not as up-to-date as other browsers. So if you’re still using *some* version of Internet Explorer, we strongly recommend that you upgrade to a different browser. To help you upgrade, we have some options for you to consider.”

    I think it is fair to lament the still omnipresent use of IE versions that are 1, 2, and even 3 versions out of date, but I feel that the added comments condemning users of IE 9 (and IE in general) is on somewhat shakier intellectual and professional ground.

    Finally, an added note. I hope that users of Firefox 3 also take heed of the advice in this article. I know from my web stats that they are a non-negligible web demographic that (although waning) seems destined to never quite go away, but should for all of the exact same reasons you implore the IE7 using masses to upgrade!

    25
    • 27

      Good point about FF 3.x.

      However, IE9 is still behind in tech and I can’t think of any good reason to choose IE9 over any of the other browsers mentioned in this article. It’s not a bad browser, but there is nothing great about it either. IE also gets upgraded only like every few years (aside from security patches), which means it is miles behind the faster moving competition at all times.

      2
      • 28

        I would imagine that the decision to use IE9 is rarely based on any of the points mentioned in this article. Rather, it’s because it’s attached to the big “e” on the desktop!

        1
  8. 29

    Great write up, Louis! This is an elegant and informative resource. I will be sharing this article and continuing to encourage others to upgrade their browsers.

    1
  9. 30

    Much love for writing this article…. shared! :-)

    18
    • 31

      Ok, I agree that IE7 is older and actually, my daughter has told me to stop using it and I use Firefox for normal web use. HOWEVER, being disabled, unfortunately, I have ALOT of time on my hands and have discovered different games on FB. Since Adobe upgraded it’s flash plug-in, certain games are pretty much unplayable on firefox! It’s just one crash after another. Jewel Journey, it is next to impossible it is so choppy along with several other games. On Castleville it just crashes upon crashes. I have discovered if before going to FB I switch over to IE7 and play on it. Yes, I do still have a crash but not nearly as much. I have gone to adobe’s and Microsofts stop the crashes pages but, i just don’t understand it. Any advice you have would be greatly appreciated, just e-mail me!

      -9
      • 32

        Just do yourself a favor and try chrome (;
        You won’t be disappointed.

        Very nice article, nobody could have said it better.
        shared :)

        4
  10. 33

    If nobody used old version of IE, it would be too easy for web designers …

    -20
  11. 34

    actual problem is awareness about term “browser”. layman generally don’t understand this term and they just see ‘e’ icon either on their desktop or on toolbar and they assume that that’s only way to access internet.
    more over internet explorer isn’t guiding their users for upgrading their browsers so that will be less hurdle for programmers to write code to force users to upgrade their browsers. problem can only end when IE explorer follows path of other browsers and use same technology stack.

    0
  12. 35

    While I use Chrome in my personal time (and also at work if possible), I have to expose that in some cases using IE is a must… Some web-services are made to work good only in IE. For example some of e-banking systems in our country, or MS Sharepoint portals… those work best with IE or in some cases they don’t even work with other browsers.

    5
    • 36

      Then the onus is on the designers/developers of those systems to stop designing/developing solely for IE, isn’t it?

      -1
      • 37

        a developer designing solely for IE is clueless, pay attention to the standards and stop blaming the old web for making your job more difficult.

        -1
  13. 38

    It beats me why Safari is in the list of alternatives? It lags behind Chrome, it’s damn slow on Windows (a lot slower than IE9) and it just tries to mimic what other browser vendors are doing. Upgrading from IE to Safari is the worst advise you could give anyone who’s hooked to his IE.

    Apart from that, graceful degradation is not something that will go away soon, not even with silent auto-updates, so many of the arguments given here feel as if they are actually due to poor web design rather than defective old browsers (the IE8 example). Sure enough people should abandon IE6 and 7, but anything above that is quite alright, with IE9 being a pretty decent browser and IE10 looking very promising indeed.

    Also, don’t forget that the “potential” of newer browsers is often not standardized yet and could make for a lot trouble in the near future.

    7
    • 39

      Just to say that having recently acquired a Mac, Safari runs rings round both IE8 (which was on my old machine as standard, and Chrome (which was installed later). I’m not an Apple freak (there are things about the Mac which are infuriating), but I really think that Safari is a magnificent browser.

      3
      • 40

        But this article isn’t about Mac users, unless they are still using IE5.5. Safari on Mac is a decent browser, Safari on Windows is a pile of unruly and slow-paced crap. And unless you’re asking IE users to buy a Mac rather than upgrade a piece of software, this is exactly the situation we are discussing here ;).

        6
    • 41

      Personally, I didn’t want to include Safari (or Opera). I would rather everybody use Chrome and Firefox. But I wanted to be fair. Also, Safari will notify you of upgrades, whereas IE9 does not. That’s a big difference in my mind.

      When IE10 comes out, maybe IE9 users will be notified via Windows Update, but from the history of those types of updates, it rarely makes much of a difference.

      -1
    • 42

      Also, look at this comparison:

      http://caniuse.com/#compare=ie+9,safari+4

      That’s IE9′s features compared to Safari 4. Safari 4 was released in 2008/2009, and IE9 was released in 2011.

      The feature comparison is about the same, even though that version of Safari is now essentially obsolete and hardly anybody is using it. Yes, IE9 is probably faster, maybe more stable and secure, but CSS/HTML/DOM features are basically the same as in Safari 4, which is why I think Safari 5+ is a much better option than IE9.

      8
      • 43

        No offense but how can you say that “I would rather everybody use Chrome and Firefox”. I mean this is exactly what started the problem with IE in the first place (only one viable choice at the time). In 10 years Chrome might be obsolete because some start-up created their own better browser but legacy websites do not support it. That is not progress.

        Also, upgrades for the browser will not fix the problem for websites that use -webkit,-moz or whatever. There is a reason they are not standardised yet and they can cause problems in the future. Some of them don’t even work the same way! Check border-radius for instance.

        Yes, let’s experiment, let’s make beautiful demos but do not ask users to use your choice of browser cause it’s ‘hip’. Let them use IE if they want, notify to upgrade when necessary but do not enforce a centralised browsing experience. It’s just wrong.

        Referals:
        http://www.webmonkey.com/2012/02/webkit-isnt-breaking-the-web-you-are/

        6
  14. 44

    Thanks so much for writing this.

    -6
  15. 45

    I totally agree with you. It’s high time to let old browsers die peacefully. BUT why put the blame on Internet Users ? Most of the time they just don’t have the choice. I prefer graceful degradation.
    What’s your opinion about that ?

    -6
    • 46

      @Julien, blame is irrelevant in this conversation. The bottom line is a lot of people are still using old browsers and the way to collectively move forward is to convince them to upgrade.

      7
      • 47

        @toby : You’re right but “I Won’t Upgrade—I’m Happy With Internet Explorer!” << Do you really hear this everyday?
        The fact that a lot of people have chrome and firefox at home but old IE versions at work.
        That's a point.

        2
        • 48

          Have you ever worked IT? I know of a few users at my workplace that freak out at the slightest change. Most of them hated it when they tried to use Chrome because it was too “unfamiliar” and went back to IE.

          7
          • 49

            For every one person afraid to move forward, there are 20 who appreciate understanding more about their choice. It’s worth educating people, and this article is a fine start.

            12
          • 50

            There are a lot of people who just want their computers to work. They don’t want to have to retrain themselves every few weeks just to be able to do the same things they were doing just fine before.

            People like you and I like to use computers and learn new software, etc. We are in the minority. For most people, it is just a pointless chore.

            One of the most important software usability issues is making user interfaces stable so people can just get their tasks done.

            5
          • 51

            Fringe of memory

            July 16, 2012 3:36 pm

            If they prefer IE6, then they have to blame themselves for the bad experience: to run an obsolete browser is not supposed to be a human right.

            The point here is: we, as web developers, must try to spread a new mindset. Browser manufacturer’s duty is to build standards-compliant browsers and developer’s duty is to code following standards. As web user it is my duty to upgrade if I want to have a decent experience. I cannot pretend to hold back the rest of the world, wasting people’s time and money, for my laziness. And if I am the system admin in a company it’s even more my duty to upgrade, ecc. This is the only reasonable distribution of duties. We cannot charge all of them on the developer, letting the rest of the crowd as responsibility-free stakeholders.

            We should support this action I’ve just discovered googling: http://www.updateyourbrowser.net

            3
      • 52

        I designed only 5 websites so far in my new career. The biggest problem with outdated browsers is my customers blaming me when they are running IE 7, have never cleaned their cache, or have never even done a disc cleanup on their 2001 computer, somehow it’s all my fault in their eyes when they cannot see their “Flash” Web site from home.. Educate when you have the opportunity…thanks for a great read, I shared it with my network!

        5
        • 53

          Without sounding harsh, it is your fault. You are building a website for the customers, not yourself or your peers. If your customers have IE7 then you should be building your websites with IE7 compatibility in mind.

          15
          • 54

            Yes she is building site for her customer and not her self, but at the same time customer wants site that is responsive and good looking with lot of effects and latest HTML5 effects. You can’t have it all, main thing is to have good conversation at the start and clear defined expectations.

            13
          • 55

            I don’t think it is her fault (entirely)… The website should not be built to taste/preferences of just the client.

            Every website should have a specific goal and be able to speak to the visitors of the site, not cater to the whims and archaic likes of the person paying for it.

            When I am faced with this same situation of a client using IE (6, 7, 8 or 9) I simply find the latest browser trends (all of which usually show IE falling behind) and combine that with hard data from Google Analytics to show my client why we design/code the way we do.

            I also will show them what they are “missing” as far as not seeing new CSS3 and other web goodies.

            That usually converts them to Firefox or Chrome users!

            All in all, we MUST still make sure that each site we design/code looks good and preforms well in ALL browsers!

            8
          • 56

            To clarify. By “customer”, I was referring to the actual users of the website rather than the individual client.

            However, if Penny’s use of “customer” was referring to the client rather than the user base then my point still has some weight; It is highly unlikely that the customer base of a website built for a client who uses IE7 him/herself is going to follow the same trends that we see in the W3Schools browser statistics. These users are likely to be of the same demographic as Penny’s client. By the sounds of things very tech un-savvy and using older technology. In this case, in the consultation, if the client requests features that are only possible with HTML5 and CSS3 (which in my experience, there aren’t many things that can’t be achieved via non CSS3/HTML5 methods if you are prepared to put the work in) then they need to be informed that it is unwise because it will result in a lesser experience for the majority of the users and alternative solutions should be presented.

            1
          • 57

            Thank you!! Some of us ‘older people’ think we are up-to-date and suddenly get told by our webmaster than they are really far behind! I have no idea how to keep up-to-date with the changes that seem to occur every hour!!!!

            -2
          • 58

            Thank you!! Some of us ‘older people’ think we are up-to-date and suddenly get told by our webmaster than they are really far behind! I have no idea how to keep up-to-date with the changes that seem to occur every hour!!!!

            -1
        • 59

          You should always set out minimum requirements with your clients and then personally check your work in the minimum required browsers to make sure they work. If the client then comes back and says it doesn’t look right in a browser that is lower than the minimum (Lets say IE6 when the minimum was IE7) you can point to the contract and let them know you met your end of the bargain and if they want it to look pixel perfect in IE6 it will cost more money.

          Where I work, we do this often and use tools like BrowserStack (http://www.browserstack.com) or virtual machines with older browsers.

          2
    • 60

      This article is not for web designers/developers, it is for “normal” people :P

      14
      • 61

        True… but it’s on a webdesigner/development blog.

        If this was on the national news or People magazine… we’d see some real change!

        6
    • 62

      I use IE8 on windows 7. I looked at Chrome once. Not as ugly as firefox, but still ugly. The excuse of ‘simplicity’ doesn’t stand up; removing the ‘file’, ‘edit’, ‘view’ menus when most windows programs have them is not acceptable. IE8 has a download dialog box that I like; I can move it around and have some control over it. IE9 was another attempt at a minimalist mess. IE10 was better; IE11 breaks windows gadgets. But ever since IE9, microsoft introduced the ‘notification bar’, something I detest. Thats the main reason why I haven’t upgraded my browser. Now, if any programmer can make IE10 behave more like IE8, particularly in terms of the dialog box vs notification bar, I’ll upgrade. Until then I’m not changing. In that same way that I still use Word 2003, because they substiuted the menus and toolbars with a ribbon that leaves me unable to find anything I want. I used Word from version 2, I may be able to change, but I don’t want to, and I am not going to without compelling reasons! If one website doesn’t work, I’ll find another. My bank, ebay and Amazon know that by alienating IE8 users they will lose business. Other companies and websites should consider that.

      -4
      • 63

        This is the mentality we developers have to deal with. Pack rats and users that refuse to change and hold on to old, outdated software “because it still works”.

        0
  16. 64

    I love this article but…

    Safari Last? Safari and Chrome are pretty much the same thing, the same engine powers them and they are both the best at supporting new features. Safari also has a larger market share than Opera even when you exclude iOS.

    If we just focus on rendering engines, (and I know why you left them out- this is for none techie’s) surely Webkit is the best, sorry Gecko and Presto – but I get less issues from Webkit and they support newer features faster.

    If you don’t but safari second, it should really be the third choice at least. Opera is nice enough but they have a lot of work to do especially with fonts and CSS3 – I personally wouldn’t recommend it at all.

    -1
    • 65

      Have you tried Safari on a Windows computer? Sure, on a Mac PC it’s great, but for Windows, it is slow, cumbersome, and just all around a bad idea. Chrome uses the same rendering engine and is much better, so I’m not even sure why Safari is even on the list….

      7
  17. 66

    Upgrading your browser means to upgrade it to the latest version, you seem to be preaching to change to a different browser.

    14
    • 67

      For a very good reason that’s already been highlighted in the previous post. Are you simply arguing over semantics or do you genuinely feel advising people to upgrade to a newer version of IE is the best course of action when trying to avoid browsers holding back the web?

      -3
  18. 68

    This post is an exemplary example of why I support your site and service. Thank you for spreading the word to get users to upgrade. Hopefully once we get over this “IE7 IE8″ period, auto upgrading browsers will push it into the future faster without having to support older browsers.

    -3
  19. 69

    I believe changing your browser to a better one falls under the category of upgrading. Upgrade by definition means switching to a better one.

    Everyone seems to be so overprotective of Chrome, it’s uncanny. I use Chrome as well, but come on people, it’s not like it doesn’t have it’s flaws. In fact, I believe if Firefox could’ve kept up it would smash Chrome, hands down. But the speed Chrome has to offer is just unmatchable, but every other aspect? Not so much. If you guys are interested, check out this site, too, it’s right up your alley: http://www.sitepoint.com without seeming to sound like a spammer, this is in fact useful :D

    0
  20. 70

    I love that you took a steadfast approach in this article. Still, I find that your average “user” gets bogged down by choice. When faced with the decision between Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera and more they can get easily overwhelmed and just avoid making a decision altogether. That’s why I usually give people just one choice, (typically Chrome). It makes it much easier for them to switch.

    2
  21. 71

    Patrick Iverson

    July 10, 2012 5:06 pm

    Grateful for articulate articles like this. Will be sharing it often!

    0
  22. 72

    moving from explorer to chrome, safari or firefox was like moving from dial-up to cable. I owe a lot to the people that built (and continue to perfect) the new browsers. I look forward to the day when explorer sits on the cultural shelf beside brick phones and analog television.

    maybe thats how we should visualize explorer users who call with issues…calling from a brick phone while watching analog television. :)

    0
    • 73

      Kevinjohn Gallagher

      July 10, 2012 9:52 pm

      See that right there is the problem.
      We’ve condescendingly decided that anyone not using our browser of choice is some form of idiot thats stuck in the timewarp.

      We could say the same about people who dont’ like iPhones, or who use XP, or who drive cars that aren’t Ferrari’s…

      Some people like IE, and they are entitled to even if you don’t. But lets not talk negatively because they like something different to you – its incredibly childish.

      7
      • 74

        It’s not OUR browser of choice. It’s ANY modern browser. It doesn’t matter if that is Chrome, Firefox or even IE9. The choice remains for the end-user. The problem is old browsers, not which brand of browser. And yes, everyone is entitled to using anything they want, but that doesn’t mean the whole web (both users and developers) would not be better of when ancient browsers leave the scene. It’s a goal worth aiming for. It will make websites better, faster and more responsive when executed properly. How is that a bad thing?

        3
      • 75

        whoops! to all those who choose to use dial-up, the brick phone or watch analog tv, I’m sorry if I’ve offended you. It is your right to choose that gear if you wish. I’m sorry for even posting.

        2
  23. 76

    This is my first message in Smash since i don’t remember how many years i have reading this website but i need to say something I’m a web developer and frontend developer and this article is part true and false as the past article because i have seen many people are googled.
    What i want to say is that people Say Install Google Chrome, IE doesn’t do this and that and doesn’t follow standard but let me say if you check i think from IE 5 (don’t remember exactly) you do what now is “Standard”, shadow, gradients, and many more than actual WEBBROWSER can’t still do. But as I say before people doesn’t now because when is compered to other browser the people doesn’t know how to code it and say doesn’t support.
    I think when someone write an article first need to check out what exactly a IE browser really can do and how can a webdeveloper code it.

    I use Mozilla and then sometimes IE because i need to check how it seen.

    -14
  24. 77

    Releasing html5 and css3 was like opening Pandoras Box, so many web pages didn’t work anymore, just look at this one in IE8 – terrible; and there is no reason for it, no new technoligy, just a blog. With html5 and css3 and responsive layouts you have to put in more than double work, With IE6 they called it hacks, now it is translated into Progressive Enhancements. And the coders have given up, the new Foundation 3 don’t support IE8. Now everyone is telling people – it is not us, it is you, you are using a wrong browser. Give it up. Most people are using IE, live with it, do your codeing better. There are some websites for showing what will come and a warning is in place. Every page showing new stuff should have Browser Support Icons at the top of the page, also if it is yet unknown.

    0
    • 78

      “Most people are using IE, live with it, do your codeing better”

      Except most people AREN’T using IE (old versions) any more. Chrome, Firefox and Safari (not to mention mobile browsers) make up the vast majority of users.

      When you then look further and realise mobile/device browsers (AKA HTML5/CSS capable browsers) are such a huge percentage it now MORE important to support those technologies than those in ie8.

      As with all things context is massively inportant so if you are making a site which will cater to an intranet with mostly ie8 users then well.. sucks to be you!

      1
  25. 79

    Safari over IE9? This article is far below the usual high standards here and is nothing more than proselytism and does not belong on this site.

    We can get “fanboi” ramblings anywhere, some of us come here for the “adult” level of conversation.

    -1
    • 80

      Safari notifies users of upgrades through iTunes. IE9 does not give any notifications of upgrades. That’s reason enough to put Safari ahead of IE9, since that means IE9 will essentially be obsolete without notification. The only hope is that IE9 users will get notified through Windows Update, but as we’ve seen in the past with IE6-8, those upgrades rarely make any difference.

      4
  26. 81

    While I do agree with this article, let’s not forgot that a large part of the internet users are browsing from a work environnement and that they usually have poor or no control at all on their web browser.

    In my opinion this discussion really depends on your targeted audience.

    In a perfect world, everyone would be running the latest version of the latest and best browser, but that is not the case. Henceforth graceful degradation is primordial.

    1
  27. 82

    While I agree, mostly with this article, I do have to say that calling browsers above IE9 as more “up to date” than IE9 is really false. At this point, HTML5, CSS 3 and related technologies are NOT standards yet. As such, they are able to change (look at CSS 3 gradients for instance), and by holding off to wait and get what at least looks to be the final version, MS is doing us all a favor. MS is in line with current standards and is up to date on such. By playing a waiting game they are avoiding the issues that many of us hated IE 6 for.

    Oh, and I agree with a few others, Safari would be a downgrade on a PC. If you are going to switch, go to Chrome, Firefox or Opera.

    12
  28. 83

    Please. Don’t recommend Safari to Windows users. It’s buggy and slow as hell on Windows. It takes away from the credibility of this article.

    -1
  29. 84

    I don’t always sync, but when I do I use http://xmarks.com. Xmarks allows IE, Chrome, Firefox and Safari to sync bookmarks. It’s really helpful to jump back and forth between browsers.

    Great post btw.

    1
  30. 85

    Dear Louis & Smashing Magazine

    While I totally agree awareness should be raised about browser upgrades and their importance, I find it disappointing to read the article quoting “We at Smashing Magazine, along with designers and developers worldwide, want you to have the absolute best possible experience on the Web” and then resulting to opinionated information and one-sided reasoning as to why it is important. Or better said, it feels a bit like Microsoft bashing.

    As a technical PM with a passion for clientside-coding and a background in server-side development I know the ropes and have all the major browsers installed and use them in a varied way. As pointed out on Twitter, while upgrades are important, lets give novice users an honest and unbiased choice.


    First of all, Internet Explorer 10 will hit RTM in August and will be generally available in October this year – not next year.


    IE9 is perfectly up-to-date in terms of HTML5 & CSS3 support. There are some vendor specific not standardized features it doesn’t support that other browsers do, but that in no terms means its less stable, insecure or slow (although not specifically written, it is implied). And those shiny new features which are lacking are almost all vendor-prefixed still. (vendor prefixes or polyfills are both hacks and extra work as in yesterdays plentyful comments)


    Who cares what’s the most popular browser in the world ? But if you’re sporting Chrome, please make sure the math’s correct (http://gs.statcounter.com/#browser_version-ww-monthly-201205-201205-bar)
    Chrome combined: 29,12% vs IE combined: 32,89%.


    Firefox, more specifically v3.x is sporting the same upgrade problem as IE7 & IE8 and counts for a bigger market share than IE7. Yet while browser upgrades are advocated in terms of speed and stability, current releases of Firefox are totally the opposite. It’s by far the slowest loading browser and the least stable of them all. Novice users leave browser windows open for hours and I dare you to do the same on a window machine and watch what happens.

    Since we’re taking an opinionated stand, outside of the laboratory and just every day heavy usage of browsers, although Chrome is my personal favorite – I tend to say Internet Explorer 9 renders faster on average.


    Although constant updates are looked upon as just a bliss, they also cause instability. What works today, might not work tomorrow. And while experienced users can deal with certain glitches, for novice users stability is a key factor.

    Security fixes are addressed, also in IE8, IE9 and IE10 although they go through Windows Update and not Internet Explorer updates. And while that may dismiss the ‘automatic update’ definition, Firefox, Safari and Opera are all permission based updates which also can be easily ignored.


    As for Google Chrome Frame and I quote

    “Does Google Chrome Frame handle the display of all websites when I install it?
    No, only sites that explicitly opt-in to using it will take advantage of its capabilities.”

    If I install Google Chrome Frame will it break any websites I use?
    No, Google Chrome Frame only kicks in when a website explicitly requests it. When visiting websites that aren’t Google Chrome Frame enabled, your browsing experience remains completely unchanged.


    So before we encourage everyone to jump onto the Google Frame bandwagon, lets please keep in mind that many legacy browsers are in an enterprise environment and require legacy functionality.

    Chrome frame either kicks in on only a few ‘enabled’ sites, or will be active by default breaking the legacy required sites. With that in mind can we please add a “If you’re in a business environment, please contact your system administrator before installing google frame disclaimer”

    11
    • 86

      Hi Jochem. Thanks for your thoughts. Here are my responses:

      1) When I said IE10 would be released “in the next year”, that doesn’t mean “next year (2013)”, that means “within the next 12 months”, because I was only estimating since there didn’t seem to be any definite timeline stated anywhere by Microsoft. Do you have a reference showing the date of release? I’ll see about changing the wording of that as I suppose more people may be confused by it.

      2) I never said IE9 was slower, etc. If you felt it was implied, then you’re reading more into it than is necessary. The main reason I don’t like IE9 is because, although it is a fast and safe browser, it’s going to be obsolete in a year, and then we’re back to square one because it doesn’t auto-update. Also, it doesn’t install on Windows XP, which is a huge factor.

      3) Vendor prefixes are not even close to being the same as polyfills or hacks. If you use a CSS preprocessor, most of the vendor prefix problems are essentially non-issues.

      4) My math on the May browser stats is correct. You’re looking at the wrong chart. Here’s the correct one, that combines all versions: http://gs.statcounter.com/#browser-ww-monthly-201205-201205-bar

      5) Firefox 3.6 is at 1.55% (as of June 2012) and dropping. That’s very little. Of course, some people may notice higher numbers for their own stats, but generally speaking, FF 3.6 is basically at the same level as IE7. NetApplications has it lower than StatCounter, and StatOwl has all FF versions in the 3x series at a combined under 4%. That’s pretty low, and they’re all decreasing with each month. Meanwhile, StatOwl has IE7 at 7%.

      6) Permission-based updates are not ideal; but they’re miles ahead of what Microsoft has done with IE6-9.

      7) Your last two statements about Chrome Frame are contradictory. Maybe I’m misunderstanding what you’re saying. You said “When visiting websites that aren’t Google Chrome Frame enabled, your browsing experience remains completely unchanged.” But then you said “Chrome frame either kicks in on only a few ‘enabled’ sites, or will be active by default breaking the legacy required sites.” Obviously one of those statements is wrong, and I believe it’s the 2nd one. Legacy apps will not have the required meta tag to enable Chrome Frame, so Chrome Frame should not break anything. Maybe you can clarify if I’ve missed something here.

      Thanks again.

      5
      • 87

        Hey Louis,

        Thanks for the reply.
        Microsoft recently confirmed that Windows 8 RTM will be first week of August and general availability will be October. With IE10 being part of Windows 8, we should see it also be available in October
        (http://www.macgasm.net/2012/07/09/windows-8-ships-to-manufacturers-next-month/)

        The choice of words (perhaps because I’m Dutch, so a non English native speaker) combined with the previous wording of ‘in the next year’ instead of in 3 months implies (to me at least) that its not a valid option.

        Of course vendor-prefixes are not the same as poly-fills, but the both fall under the category ‘deviating from the standard’. And that’s where the average novice user falls under, they don’t care about a shiny drop-shadow or a css gradient background. In a year we won’t have the same problem with IE9 as we currently have with IE6 or IE7, because IE9 supports the standardized HTML5 and CSS3 standard. It’s not build on a legacy standard, it’s built on the current standard.

        As to the math in the stats: yes, Chrome has a bigger browser share when compared to the top 5 browsers. Thank god IE6 & IE7 are not in the top 5 anymore. Just grabbing the top 5 and avoiding the browsers the whole argument is about just fuels to the impression that this call-to-action is opinionated and not factual and unbiased.

        Like I said, just because something is popular isn’t a reason why the late majority should upgrade, and this is certainly not an argument to drag into the boardroom.

        Again an opinion doesn’t make a valid argument. Internet Explorer gets updated when security holes get discovered. Novice users like simplicity and when your operating system allows you a functionality to auto-update all security fixes for their OS and their browser at the same time, that’s a pretty neat experience.

        It certainly beats Firefox help>>about and then spot a hotfix or Safari constantly trying to install more than just the latest update. When the novice user opens a browser, they want to use it instantly, most don’t have the patience to click ‘yes’ to install the update and then having to wait a few minutes to have it installed.

        With regards to Chrome Frame, the quotes came from the FAQ. Basically stating there are two options, either have it always render with Chrome Frame, or only use Chrome Frame when the proper meta tag is invoked.

        So when everything is rendered with Chrome’s engine, the legacy apps will break. If policy is set to only be activated when the meta tag is present on a site, this still won’t solve the initial ‘everyone must upgrade’ call because there are millions of html5 sites which don’t use the tag (hint your deforestation website sample).


        Like I said before, while I truly appreciate the effort and call-to-action for people to upgrade, I feel the document is lacking the facts and motivation to truly encourage people to upgrade. That’s why I’m nitpicking. First you’re scaring them away from Internet Explorer and end up just listing the A-grades, leaving them with no clue as to where to go next, nor warn them about the ‘danger’ of switching.

        Jochem.

        -1
        • 88

          - Vendor prefixes don’t deviate from the standard, nor are they hacks. They are a standardized way to implement experimental features. You can argue that they’re ugly, to which I agree, but that problem becomes manageable with a preprocessor. Are they useful? I’d say yes. I’ve been using them and relying on them for a few years already.

          - You suggest users don’t care about fancy gradients, rounded corners, shadows and all that. Perhaps you’re right. Strange though that before CSS3 almost every web page in the world tried to mimic that look using images or tons of divs. I guess somebody does care.

          - Regarding IE10′s release date: it’s besides the point when it will be released. The problem is older browsers and browsers not auto-updating. IE10 solves none of those problems.

          - Regarding the FF3.x issue: two wrongs don’t make a right. If FF3.x has users stuck on them, it’s the same problem. That does not make the IE problem smaller. It’s not a contest.

          1
        • 89

          Hi Jochem,

          I’m an engineer on the Chrome Frame team.

          What you note about the two default modes, while true, is misleading. The default is NOT to render all content, and it required special registry configuration to change it. Administrators who do this are usually using the “opt out” list in conjunction with changing the default when making a policy decision that allows them to *keep their legacy sites running* while opting *all other* sites into GCF.

          As far as we know, this is both uncommon and only something savvy administrators do. Chrome Frame is designed to never break content, but we do give administrators the power to determine what that means in the context of their organizations.

          Hope that clears up your confusion.

          Regards

          3
    • 90

      Thanks for writing down everything I was thinking while reading this article!

      0
  31. 91

    Kevinjohn Gallagher

    July 10, 2012 9:45 pm

    I am so disappointed in this.

    We still haven’t given you average USER a good reason to update.
    Other than new fluffy content, on such everyday visited sites as (http://www.jonathan-krause.de/rainforest) which is not even an actual site, but someone’s HTML5 infographic – we don’t have a POSITIVE reason to update.

    * IE is “commercial”? The others aren’t? In what way is it commercial over the others?
    * Much faster page-loading? Again that depends on the site, and how much crap is on it.
    * Extensions and add-ons? IE has them too.
    * Larger page-viewing area? You know thats a negative for some people. they LOVE the big buttons. My Mum’s first comment on Chrome was “Where is the Home button”?

    This whole article seems less like a call to upgrade your browser to a new version, and more a jihad against IE.

    If we want people to upgrade, no forget that lets use the real word, CHANGE from using a tool they want to/have to use to one that we WANT them to use – we have to offer them positive reasons to change, or point out the huge negatives to THEM; so that the time/effort/money required to change and learn/get-used-to the new tool has a positive Return on Investment – for THEM.

    People don’t like change. They just want things to work. The reality is that IE9 works. Heck IE8 works. Maybe not as well as we would like, but they do intrinsically work. Crap articles like this, from an author who has put in so much time and effort, do nothing to make us look any less like the whiny selfish kids we’re being. We’re as well just having a big page saying:

    y u no upgrade???!?!?!?!?!?!

    Oh, and, if moving to a PC and IE is going to stop me seeing stupid HTML5 animations – sign me up!

    Finally: “one of the features of new browsers is the ability to add extensions, plugins, and add-ons” you could do that in IE3! Not sure I’d call that a new browser.

    Truly Gutted!

    0
    • 92

      I’m a little confused about your definition of ‘good reason to update’ but a safer, faster browser seems like a pretty solid reason to me.

      “Much faster page-loading? Again that depends on the site, and how much crap is on it”
      No it doesn’t, Chrome is going to load any page faster than IE7 or 8.

      6
    • 93

      Kevinjohn,

      I never said the other browsers weren’t commercial. You’re obviously reading this with some kind of weird over-sensitivity to every statement. I was simply pointing out that many users actually think the “e” icon refers to a generic “internet” symbol, instead of recognizing that it’s a commercial piece of software.

      Are you saying that Chrome doesn’t load pages faster on average than IE8? What exactly are you trying to say here? We’re not comparing the loading of websites, we’re comparing the loading of websites in different browsers. New browsers are better than old browsers; it does not ‘depend on the website’, it depends on the browser.

      Yes, I concede, IE has extensions. But unfortunately, nobody cares. Do you really want users adding clunky extensions to the already slow IE7 or IE8? The Chrome and FF extensions community is thriving; the IE one has barely existed. The extensions part didn’t really say this was unique to new browsers; it was more about the extensive options available.

      It doesn’t matter if you can find a handful of people that like the big buttons on IE. What matters is that a larger viewing area means a better experience. Remember, the “user interface” is not the browser; it’s the web page. By saying that the big buttons are good, you’re basically saying that you’d rather see your mum using IE7 than Chrome.

      Finally, you said:

      “This whole article seems less like a call to upgrade your browser to a new version, and more a jihad against IE”

      I’m sorry, but is there a difference between asking users to upgrade their browsers and declaring a war against IE? I don’t think those two things are exclusive of each other, not at this stage in the game.

      7
      • 94

        Actually, if the rainforest page had been coded properly, I actually think it could be faster on IE(8). Not because it loads faster, but because the inclusion of animation slows the page down considerably. Instead of getting the info, you have to wait until the animation finishes (some take up to 2 full seconds) before you get the full data view.

        It’s a bit hard to convince people they need a newer browser when they actually need to wait longer before they can access it just because some designer figured it would be fancy to add some rather pointless(ly slow) animations.

        1
        • 95

          Niels, Unfortunately, poor coding and quirky Web-designer decisions are a reality that need to be factored in. Consider how much poorly coded websites were/are actually responsible for the proliferation of Internet Explorer in the first place. It’s rare, but I still see “This site is optimized for Internet Explorer.” Asking people to upgrade is the way to fix what’s broken about that reality.

          -1
          • 96

            Consider how much poorly coded websites were/are actually responsible for the proliferation of Internet Explorer in the first place.

            Oh my god, THIS.

            I started dabbling in website design way back in 1999. About a year after that, after getting my feet wet and learning to hand-code, I’d visit personal websites in Netscape 4 (my then-browser of choice; I’ve always hated IE), and they wouldn’t even come up. A quick View > Page Source showed me the reason: the site owner didn’t close their tags. In my view, IE is definitely responsible for encouraging shoddy coding. Unfortunately a lot of people I knew at the time loved IE because they could do stuff like coloured scrollbars and all kinds of other shiny things that could distract them from focusing on making sure their sites worked in browsers other than IE. (I’ll confess I liked the coloured scrollbars myself, but I never put that above making sure everything else worked properly.)

            2
          • 97

            Unfortunately, poor coding and quirky Web-designer decisions are a reality that need to be factored in.

            Ahem, the browser is not responsible for the lazy bum who wrote the poor code or made poor decisions! The tools you use should depend on what your visitors are using. Anything that can be done in “modern browsers” with CSS CAN be done in at least IE7; most designers just don’t know how or are not willing to go the extra step.

            Anyway, nice rant but Internet Explorer is not going anywhere anytime soon.

            -2
  32. 98

    FINALLY! Someone has taken the time to write an extensive article on this. You don’t understand how many people, (especially my mother) who are convinced that Internet Explorer is completely okay to use, and then she wonders why it takes 10 minutes for her online banking to load. I get it that it used to be one of the most secure but all the other browsers now are just as great and even better.

    As said above safari on a PC isn’t as effective as it is on a Mac.

    3
  33. 99

    This is a great read for normal users. I’ll point my normal clients to it!

    Also.. Dominic Jones – get Adblock!

    0
  34. 100

    Those who read smashingmag knows the importance of browser very well. Either they can’t switch (corporate reasons mostly) or they have already switched.

    1
  35. 101

    While I agree that out of date browsers are a stumbling block to better web development, I am very disappointed by how this article singles out users.

    If this article had been aimed at system administrators I could have forwarded it to my admin and advocated for a change in policy throughout my organization, but because this was aimed at me the user, all I can do is be annoyed and frustrated.

    Even if Chrome Frame doesn’t require admin privileges, installing it could still violate employer policies about installing third party software, and keeping software up to date has to fall on the administrators of the computers not the users.

    I want better browsers on all my computers too, and Smashing Magazine should be writing articles that help me advocate for them, not suggesting that I go behind my employers back in order to make designers lives easier.

    3
  36. 102

    I totally agree to this article. At my company we went one step further and decided to show a big lightbox for all old browsers telling these users to upgrade to a modern, more up-to-date browser. We don’t force the visitors to upgrade, we only remind. We used and modified this nice little jquery plugin called jreject (http://jreject.turnwheel.com/). If only more websites would integrate this.

    Next step is to reject old browsers completely.

    4
  37. 103

    While I agree that out of date browsers are a stumbling block to better web development, I am very disappointed by how this article singles out users.

    If this post had been aimed at system administrators I could have forwarded it to my admin and advocated for a change in policy throughout my organization, but because this was aimed at me the user, all I can do is be annoyed and frustrated.

    Even if Chrome Frame doesn’t require admin privileges, installing it could still violate employer policies about installing third party software, and keeping software up to date has to fall on the administrators of the computers not the users.

    I want better browsers on all my computers too, and Smashing Magazine should be writing articles that help me advocate for them, not suggesting that I go behind my employers back in order to make designers lives easier.

    1
  38. 104

    I’m all for having people update their browsers but as a designer i know its a pipe dream right now. From my experience some older users are afraid to upgrade because they don’t know enough about it, even when given the info they need, Government agencies and some private companies are stuck with older versions without the option of upgrades, etc. i believe it is the designers responsibility to stop whining and when you code for newer browsers make sure you allow for graceful degrades so those who can’t or won’t upgrade can still have a winning experience.

    2
  39. 105

    You really should emphasize thats it’s FREE to upgrade your web browser, and it only takes a few minutes. This article is too long in my opinion for the casual non tech user. Maybe showing features from popular websites which is only possible in a modern browser would help convince more people.

    Though great initiative, lets hope it convinces at least some people.

    6
  40. 106

    The article is nice and informative, but like the article before it (by the same author), it seems to suggest everyone ditch IE (not just the older versions) and move to something else. Then he tries to re-enforce his opinion with the fact that IE9 doesn’t have auto updates, among other things. I feel if you want to steer people away from the use of IE then be frank and include that in your title instead of trying to subliminally plant it.

    I Just find it a tad too bias, and indirect (of what the true intent seems to be) even though it does make solid points. Then again, I guess that’s why it’s categorized under the “opinion column”.

    http://theusg.me

    3
  41. 107

    I am currently sharing this with everyone I know including my parents.

    0
  42. 108

    Nice! I want to say again: “Please Upgrade Your Browser”.

    0
  43. 109

    Preaching to the wrong crowd i’m afraid!

    0
  44. 110

    Generally speaking, people who surf the internet are aware of it being an advanced and modern technology, so why use an outdated browser like IE8 at all? It’s freem easy, and you only benefit from it…

    0
  45. 111

    Great article, thanks for including BrowsingBetter! I made that site so long ago and have been meaning to refresh it, would have hustled had I known this article was coming so quick :)

    0
  46. 112

    Personally, I think articles like this and most others like it are misguided. As many people have already pointed out, the problem is corporate users. And the reason why corporates are reluctant to upgrade is not because of some IT Admin freaking out. Trust me, the IT Admins would love to upgrade as much as any regular self-respecting IT designer/developer.

    The problem is that it is expensive to upgrade internal legacy applications. I know of Fortune 500 companies that are still using old browsers because it would cost millions to “update” ERP or CRM software that is mission critical. And because that software is not broken (and in most cases, works very well thank-you-very-much), being forced to update it that so that employees can browse the web better is seen as a triviality.

    So as well intentioned as these types of posts are, the justifications given are but a proverbial fart in the wind when it comes to really, seriously dealing with this issue. If I had the knowledge and clout, the place where I would start is an article addressed to CIOs and Business Managers detailing the productivity benefits, and the opportunity cost to other areas of the business if the legacy software is not updated to work with newer browsers.

    3
    • 113

      Perhaps we should have a better look at how to interpret marketshare of browsers then. Example, if IE6 has a fictional marketshare of 5%, yet this is the cause of corporate usage, we can perhaps be more aggressive in dropping support. Why? Because for legacy reasons, enterprises could offer a VM with IE6 for legacy support, whilst having a native better browser for everything else. Already on the web using IE6 will lead to a broken experience, so I’m pretty sure they’re already doing it this way.

      -1
  47. 114

    i have notice how people and this author are obsessed to make people change the way they like, as i have seen the group of google bashing IE all the way possible.
    Let the people make their choice, secondly if you use any browser different as chrome and you use google always appears “Install Chrome” or if you use IE “Install Chrome Frame” don’t be obsessed people know of other browser but they prefers IE, this kind of article are a shame of smashing it will fair is this same author wrote and Article called “Why still use IE”.
    Some points
    - Upgrade OS, default browser IE
    - Sometimes more friendly FTP
    - Everything on the current browser IE can support it althought with different syntax
    - SInce as one person Say’s Addons from IE 3
    - In some banks IE is more secure than other browsers.

    0
  48. 115

    Well, the argument cuts both ways. Old browsers (Read IEx) need to be upgraded, but you cannot force people to do that. The change will take some time, but till everybody switches to Chrome, Mozilla or Maxthon, we need to code for IE as well.

    Spread the word folks, let non users know how IE kills creativity

    -3
    • 116

      IE kills creativity? And PC users are dumb, and if you don’t drive a Vols Waggoner your teeth are probably yellow!

      0
  49. 117

    Instead of blaming Microsoft IE, you could have given a comparison chart. IE9 is as fast as chrome or any other browser…

    -3
    • 118

      The purpose of the article was not to be fair but to simply push anti-Microsoft agenda forward. Of all the online magazines I shocked that SM allows such a political viewpoint on its pages. Time to stop pointing all of my students to the site.

      0
      • 119

        If a piece of software is bad, or inferior, it’s not “political” to say that someone should use a better piece of software.

        Unless you can point out any factual errors in this article, then your statement here is just plain nonsense, sorry to say.

        No version of IE is as fast, stable, secure, or feature-rich as the latest versions of the other browsers. That is the basis for the article, not any political agenda. In fact, to prove this, here’s a pair of articles that I wrote supporting IE9 when it first came out:

        http://www.sitepoint.com/real-world-html5-and-css3-in-internet-explorer-9/
        http://www.sitepoint.com/debug-faster-with-f12-developer-tools-in-internet-explorer-9/

        Yes, those were sponsored articles paid by Microsoft, but obviously, if I had a political agenda against Microsoft, I would not be writing articles supporting their products.

        But times have changed since then, and IE9 is no longer a good browser option.

        2
  50. 120

    Can you please stop preaching to me about IE? That horse is beyond dead and it’s been beaten enough.

    kthxbai

    1
  51. 121

    IE isn’t all that bad, get over it. It’s a damn clear mile better than Safari

    -4
  52. 122

    How many of the 70 odd comments on here are from non-web designers/developer I wonder?

    Personally, I think that security issues are the reasons to upgrade/change your browser. It’s not really about HTML5/CSS for the non technical user. If a site doesn’t degrade gracefully, the user will likely just think, “this site is crap” not “oh, the developer of this site must have used new shiny coding techniques, I simply must get Chrome!”

    I know it’s often a pain to have to deal with these old browsers but, for the reasons already mentioned by many, that’s the way it is, suck it up! I’m sure we’ve all come across web developers who take the “f**k you IE user, I don’t care about you” approach, but in my view, if you’re like that, you’ve no business being a web developer.

    This is a seemingly never ending discussion, but I usually only see it technical publications/blogs/twitter feeds/etc, which is a case of preaching to the converted, we’ve all already upgraded so why bother? It really needs to be more mainstream if you’re ever going to convert the casual web browser, and that probably won’t even help with the issue of enterprises being stuck on IE6.

    And, virtually all new websites using HTML5/CSS3?? I’m not so sure about that.

    6
  53. 123

    Our 2007 home laptop (running Vista) has IE8, Opera, Firefox, Chrome and Safari loaded on it.

    My wife uses IE8. She doesn’t get on with using another browser, she likes the interface of IE, she knows where things are in IE. She is comfortable with IE and grumbled when I upgraded from 7 as the look changed. Clicking on the “E” symbol is the normal thing to do for internet access. It’s a Microsoft product, on a Microsoft OS, so why shouldn’t it work properly, is the mind set as I understand it.

    My son uses Chrome, because I advised him too and have set his favourites on there.

    I primarily use Opera, Firefox as second choice and Chrome for Google maps. The others are used for cross browser testing.

    I feel there will come a time when the current operating system on our laptop will not be able to run up to date browsers effieciantly, and choosing that cut off point to updates must be looming. We don’t intend to update the laptop in the near future.

    At work we still have IE6 with a possible upgrade to IE8 before the end of the year!

    2
    • 124

      She knows where everthing is in IE. Like what? The address bar? It’s the same everywhere.

      I know what you mean though. My father was the same, having irrational reasons to stick with what he knows. Until I spend one hour convincing him to use Firefox. It usually doesnt take much more.

      -2
    • 125

      I am a web development and I am tired with IE.
      I always use in htaccess:
      #deny IE

      RewriteEngine On
      RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} ^.*MSIE.*$ [NC]
      # RewriteRule .* http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/new/
      RewriteRule .* https://www.mozilla.org/

      0
  54. 126

    People in corporate environment stuck with ie => use Chrome Frame.
    Everybody else still with ancient browser => Upgrade or quit whining.

    I’m sick and tired of people not wanting to learn by themselves and then complaining about their ignorance. “waaaahhh, I’m not tech savvy”, “waaaahhh, I don’t like computers”.

    1
  55. 127

    Shared on FB

    -2
  56. 128

    A good attempt to make non-web people care about browsers. Unfortunately, the people who this article is aimed at ( people like my Mum, average regular internet users who have very low IT knowledge and do not fully comprehend what a ‘program’ is and have no inclination to find out ) will not even see the article, and if they did, they would switch off pretty fast because they have no idea what you are talking about. We have to accept: no-one except web developers and designers care about browsers, computers or operating systems. You must accept this fact. They only care about finding what they want on the internet with minimal fuss. The only way things will change is with forced updates, cloud computing and IT admins / organisations lifting the lock-down on downloading updates on to work machines.

    -1
  57. 129

    The attempt is nice but you know what ?

    Get a similar article on the bbc.co.uk, on the guardian, on the nyt, on the frankfurter zeitung … then, it will impact users.

    So go ahead, write something to the press, use your influence and try it. I’m just a random dev who cannot get them to write such an article.

    Idealistic ? Yeah sure, but not as much as publishing an article for normal users on smashing, while knowing that normal users just don’t read this website anyway.

    Again, nice try, but wanna get in touch with average joe ? Try the normal newspapers.

    Regards.

    3
  58. 130

    Everyone knows that Apple products are widely admired – even revered – but the comment about mobile Safari suggests a certain bias in favour of Apple’s mobile product range. Independent stats show that Opera is one the most widely used browser on mobile devices. (No, I don’t work for Opera ;-) )

    http://gs.statcounter.com/#mobile_browser-ww-monthly-201106-201206

    0
  59. 131

    Nice idea, but how many people who have bothered to reply, aren’t web types are those with this kind of knowledge anyway.

    I don’t mean to bash the article, but maybe someone needs to send something like this viral. I mean if some dude can get that Kony idea of the ground surely the future existence of the internet can garner some attention to the everyday folk on the street.

    0
  60. 132

    I run my own ecommerce store and we sell doona covers online.

    Internet explorer is a nightmare and means it takes us 4-5 times as long to make changes on our site. We had an image slideshow on our homepage (a common feature on websites these days) but on Internet explorer it was freezing between the changeover of images so we’d have half of two different photos on display at once. It looked very unprofessional to say the least.

    The world woUld be a much better place without IE.

    You know what annoys me the most? Some websites will only open in IE (often government related sites). What’s with that?

    0
    • 133

      It may be a nightmare , but ecommerce is where I see that pain to be the most worthwhile – would you rather your customers came to your site to be presented with a “you must upgrade your browser” or that they were able to make a simple purchase in IE6? I see stats that say IE6 accounts for <1% of users, but if you're lucky enough to have a 1000's of visitors, that's still a considerable number of potential purchases you could be losing if you don't support it. Not that I'm saying you do that, just comment!

      On the odd occasion when I've been confronted with that "IE only" message, I usually don't even bother going any further!

      2
    • 134

      Some websites will only open in IE (often government related sites). What’s with that?

      Shoddy coding, probably. And if I’m right about that, they ought to fire their web developer/designer and hire someone who knows a thing or two about web standards and convince them they’re working with a crappy browser.

      -1
  61. 135

    I have all browsers including IE9 (yes, it’s fast). IE7 and IE8 must disappear!

    0
  62. 136

    Andreas Maucher

    July 11, 2012 3:22 pm

    The old Story!

    0
  63. 137

    So the only reason you did not include ie9 was because it does not auto update… They changed that as of Jan 2012:

    http://windowsteamblog.com/ie/b/ie/archive/2011/12/15/ie-to-start-automatic-upgrades-across-windows-xp-windows-vista-and-windows-7.aspx

    0
  64. 138

    Cpt. John Obvious

    July 11, 2012 4:02 pm

    fan service article. Like anyone that reads here doesn’t already know that IE is a poor user experience. C’mon Smashing Magazine, you are better than this.

    0
    • 139

      I found this article extremely valuable to people who don’t typically read Smashing Magazine. I’ve shared it out to business leaders, project managers, marketers, and EVEN some .NET developers who struggle to overcome the fear of dropping older browsers that unnecessarily restrict development decisions.

      0
  65. 140

    Thank you for writing this, it’s easy to copy/paste to friends. I’ve mailed it to all my Windows powered contacts.

    1
  66. 141

    Actually, I do not get the point of this article.

    All web development is about the money. If you develop your site for your pleasure, then you can drop support for whatever browser you like. You can make it support only IE6 or only the latest version of the Chrome, or may be even it may support only the brwoser, which you’d developed for your own just yesterday.

    But if your site is for the money, then you want as high conversion ratio as possible. This mean, that you want the client which use any browser can come to you and buy a thing in your on-line shop (or just click the ad which you payed for, or whatever). And this means, that you have to make your site work well in any popular browser (no matter how hard it is).
    Of course, you can drop the support for some particular browser, e.g. older versions of IE or FF, but you should understand, that this may lead to decreasing of the conversion ratio of your site. Actually, it may be OK, if you instead you can significantly decrease expencese related to develpment or some other critical paramteres. Anyway, it’s just buisness descision.

    The claims of this article as if some potential mobile app developer would claim: Why those stupid users use Androd? iOS is much much better! And the most important: I can easily develop for iOS (and it is too hard for me to develop my app for all three: iOS, Android and WindowsPhone)….

    It is a kind of grotesque.

    Web browsers are the platforms too. You just select, which platforms (browsers) it is commercially profitable to develop for. And thats all.
    If you’ve decided to develop for only one platform, do not blame the users, who select other ones. And if you’ve decided to develop for multiple plaftorms do not say it is too hard. Any way, you should select an option, which makes profit for you and your company.

    2
  67. 142

    This article is excellent, coupled with yesterday’s article (http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2012/07/09/old-browsers-are-holding-back-the-web/) which was targeted at Web professionals. The two articles are a great example of crafting the same content for two completely different audiences. Well done, effective way to communicate this topic.

    2
  68. 143

    I’ve always said, if you don’t care enough about my website to visit it with a browser that’s up to date, I don’t care enough about your experience there. When someone says “The screen doesn’t look right when I visit it in IE8″ my response is: “don’t visit it in IE8″; problem solved.

    0
  69. 144

    You *do* realise that ‘everyday web users’ don’t read Smashing Magazine, don’t you?

    3
  70. 145

    I love how one of the arguments for using a new browser is that they run on an old operating system: “Unlike IE9 and the upcoming IE10, they can be installed on Windows XP.”

    0
  71. 146

    that 20% of web users cannot upgrade their browsers because they can’t afford new computers nor do they understand how to really use their computer. As much as I want each and every IE user to grab a California reword stake and drive it into the heart of Internet Explorer, the reality is that $500 for a new computer is the equivalent of 2-weeks net pay.

    1
  72. 147

    I am a non web developer graphic artist, been using a Mac for 20 years and up until now have upgraded religiously. use Safari when I have to, tried Opera, Chrome but stick to Firefox because I have customized it. I tried to upgrade to the latest Firefox but discovered it broke 1Password. Now I do know I can upgrade 1Password but am not ready to tackle that just now. Updating breaks things and takes non techies out of their comfort zone. This is a good article and coming on the heels of your first article about upgrading makes essential reading.

    1
  73. 148

    Apparently a lot of people didn’t read yesterday’s article, which was squarely aimed at the developer community. Both articles were excellent. Thank you for taking the time to write one specifically to the user community.

    My company implemented Chrome Frame (a simple snippet of code in the header) in a revamp of our site last year for IE6 users, and for our 2.0 launch soon, we will use it for <IE8, possibly <IE9. If people choose for whatever reason to stick with IE, we can at least get them the best experience possible using Chrome Frame. Doing that much will help us avoid a lot of heat from some of our users.

    My company is interested in using today's article as a source for an email campaign to our users to encourage them to update. Can you let me know who I can direct this request to?

    0
  74. 149

    You should add Maxthon and Rockmelt browsers….

    0
  75. 150

    To make things clear. I’m an Opera user through and through. however we’re all missing the point of Internet Explorer.

    First, you are correct and I agree with your article, but I’ve yet to see an article on browsers talking about WHY(really) Internet Explorer is still so widely used, ESPECIALLY in the professional world. One word ACTIVEX. If you don’t know what activeX is then you don’t really know much about internet explorer and its real value.

    Because of activeX IE is the most powerful browser ever designed(despite any weaknesses you may have mentioned in the article). IE is the ONLY browser that supports activeX.

    ActiveX allows the website to interface with the operating system and access system level files.

    Without getting into to much technical detail. Basically many financial institutions, banks, government agencies, military, and other major organizations utilize activeX controls for their operations.

    All in all Internet explorer may be a preference, but its Always going to be a necessity until organizations stop using activeX. Which i don’t see happening for a long long time.

    0
  76. 151

    Scott Barnes (@MossyBlog)

    July 12, 2012 4:02 am

    Who are you talking to ? ie the target audience for this article.

    Here in lies the problem the users on IE6 aren’t reading articles like this. Your next move? :)

    -2
  77. 152

    I totally disagree with the point

    “Why Are New Browsers Better? Far fewer instances of crashing or freezing.”

    As a web developer I am constantly using the latest FF and Chrome. They almost routinely crash and freeze. I do limited testing in IE, but still IE rarely crashes or freezes during my testing.

    0
  78. 153

    I hate articles like this. Let people choose the browser they want. You’re just being a lazy developer if you need to tell people to upgrade to other browsers. IE10 is an excellent browser so far from what I’ve tested. The major issue is that many websites use the old school conditional statement “IF IE” and then it prevents the web-standards version of the site from working properly on IE10.

    IE8 and before were sucky browsers I’ll say. But IE10 is up there, and I find it much faster than Firefox and even Chrome.

    2
  79. 154

    Msft have only option that make Ie open-source but they will not made it because they not want to share their performance/monopoly tricks with people like Fx or chrome.

    At-least I use IE only for 2 works. my Phone -website are worked only on Ie7 same for landline. they use custom software that accept only Ie7 user agent.

    0
  80. 155

    Someone should do an study on how many hours are wasted every year in development for old browsers. Then break out the results by each browser

    0
  81. 156

    This is a bias article, this article makes IE seem as if it so bad, but it not that bad as you are making it seem. IE has been my primary browser for years. I have tried Chrome, Opera, Firefox and others yet I find IE to be the best option for me. I writing from the developer preview of version 10 on windows 8. Is not fair to compare an outdated IE browser to latest version of Chrome and Firefox

    0
    • 157

      From the perspective of someone who not only services old machines and new, but also works on most browsers equally.
      This is a biased article, but it’s not wrong.
      IE is a Terrible browser. It’s one of the most insecure, broken, buggy Browsers you can have, and the problem with it isn’t that it exists, it’s that people are forced to use it.
      Example. Most companies use legacy software they’re too lazy to update that uses ActiveX (not even going to start going into how much of a security risk that is, despite it’s usefulness.) And their refusal to upgrade forces workers in modern times to use unstable browsers like IE8 and back. (And compatibility mode replicates plenty of those instabilities when using legacy software) Some other programs ONLY work on IE and when you run into the issues IE inevitably has, you’re lost. At least with other browsers, I can dump them when they get too buggy or outdated. IE insists that you use it and because companies have NO IT skills to understand they’re shooting themselves in the foot, IT technicians have to ducttape and workaround every major issue and pray it doesn’t fall apart when the whole thing could be fixed by simply NOT restricting your users to a single browser. Considering all the browsers are free anyway, there’s no reason not to leave it open ended for the user so when they wake up and realize “Hey…IE just isn’t working the way I need.” Then they can try FF or CH or OP or SAF. And then when those go out, they can try IE again.

      0
  82. 158

    I made the jump to Chrome for my home computres (and now my ipad/iPhone) and I will deff not look back. I agree on some things like the fact you shouldn’t have to support browers that are not supported anymore (like IE 6-7)

    Now the only problem is at work. All we get is IE 8, it sucks but we have no control over the year(s) it can take to approve new versons of IE (aka IE9 and soon to be IE10) so where does this leave me when i go to work. No where. I can’t change it even if i wanted to.

    0
  83. 159

    Agree with @fordcom. It is not the IE sucks, it is only the older versions of it. So we cannot blame saying IE is bad, by comparing with other latest browsers. It was IE that was the feature reference for many latest browsers. We can request users to upgrade to latest version, it is not fare to request every one to stop using IE.

    0
  84. 160

    This is an “old” topic. Don’t be so Naive, there will always be “old browsers” or at leaset old versions of browsers, so make use of make use of the new tools in the new browsers & degrade gracefully. Stop whining about it, it isn’t going to go away.

    As long as there is human evolution there will be new versions of technology, & there will always be a race to get there first. So you can get rid of the idea that all software companies should collaborate and release the same features all at the same time.

    0
  85. 161

    While I agree with the “Please Upgrade” message (we should all be encouraging users to use the most up to date and secure web browser, where possible) I do get tired of Internet Explorer bashing. I have a 15 year background in web development and, while Internety Explorer did loose its way for a time, I love the latest version and use it for my day to day browsing and web development.

    The key thing to remember is that, with the organised move towards “web standards”, its becoming less and less about which flavour of web browser (or device) you use – in theory, they should all render HTML and CSS in a similar way (give or take a few quirks). Its all down to personal choice which browser you prefer.

    Yes, some older browsers may not render your fancy CSS3 rounded corners or drop-shadows but, as long as you develope your code to degrade nicely, it shouldn’t matter.

    1
  86. 162

    Sorry but by wife, mom and nephew all are sticking to their old browser; reason is they do not truly understand it and doesn’t want to understand. If I say do this or try this. ‘oh! it has more then 1 step, I don’t want to hear it I am not geek, and now you are acting geeky on me don’t give me your geeky gyan’. They have become pro in pressing like button of FB thousands of time. But can’t understand that they have to change their browser.

    I believe that this change can be brought not by digital medium or communication but by taking it up as activism by non digital means say over phone or on TV sets etc. If it could be printed in b/w in newspaper and they might get there attention on it.

    -2
  87. 163

    I expect more from Smashing Magazine, anti-Microsoft sentiment is not a welcome sentiment in my books. If your site breaks in IE you are not doing your job, simple fact.

    0
  88. 164

    I just love the title!!!:D

    1
  89. 165

    The big thing you’ve missed here is the volume of traffic and number of people with old browsers who don’t have the ability to upgrade because of organisational IT policies!

    The UK government was running IE6 until not long ago and I’m aware of lots of big organisations who force their users to go with outdated browsers.

    0
  90. 166

    I enjoyed this read a lot! I thank you! I am a diehard Chrome user and have been since about FF 5.0. (‘Crash, delay, crash’ all in a 10 minute period) I haven’t used IE for years. It never showed half of the images!
    While I realize things change and different versions of the various browsers all have some good features, Chrome has just been the best for me for the duration!

    Thank you,

    Su

    1
  91. 167

    What about people like me who don’t like filling landfills with old computers? I run a number of older machines that can no longer be updated with the latest versions of the most current browsers. In fact, some versions which are older than the most recent version they can support actually run faster and are a lot more stable. For example one of my machines is a dual Powermac G5 from 2005 that’s running Leopard. It’s still a very fast machine and I feel is a lot more responsive than a 2007 macbook I also use. Because powerpc is no longer being supported by Firefox and Safari, I am forced to run a few alternatives like OmniWeb and TenFourFox (which is very close to Firefox.)

    0
  92. 168

    This is a pointless article – the fact that this article is published on a blog targeted to web designers and developers makes it so – as most of us already use the latest browsers. We seem to forget that not everyone is a techie and not everyone likes change. If it works for them they simply won’t change it. Deal with it!

    -2
  93. 169

    As web developers we should just stop supporting < IE9, then the rest of the people will eventually get the message :-)

    1
  94. 170

    I’m a big proponent of encouraging people to use the latest version of whatever browser they choose to use. http://usethelatestversion.com

    The carrot-and-stick seems to be the thing we need, it will help folks to gain a desire to upgrade their browser. However, it is equally important that people *know* that there is a carrot in the first place, here’s hoping that this article gets shared to help spread the message.

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  95. 171

    I just read this article through a link in a monthly newsletter I get and found it to be fantastic. I am not a web designer, or programmer, but an end-user at a government operation that provides no training on the software it requires us to use. I know our IT people get very frustrated with us, but we are not given the information we need to understand things like you put in this article. I do have an actual question…I purchased a laptop with Windows 7 and IE9 pre-loaded. I had so many crashes that no one, including two IT professionals could seem to figure out why. I found something on Microsoft’s site that led me to think the problem was IE9. I totally removed IE; however, it is so tied to Windows 7, that many of the software’s features would not work. I reinstalled IE, but used version 8 and things now work great for me. How does that figure in with your article stating it is best to always be updated? Thanks.

    2
  96. 172

    I don’t understand why IE has not reached a ‘usable’ standard after all these years and versions. Especially when it comes to design and back-end technical aspects of web development, IE can prove very annoying – especially when doing cross domain calls and AJAX modules

    2
  97. 173

    Trying to educate the users one site at a time: http://www.premiumdw.com/articles/i-just-cant-support-you-any-longer-internet-explorer-8/

    P.S. There’s a link to this article in there.

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  98. 174

    Mercy Devereaux

    July 19, 2013 5:59 pm

    at the risk of sounding like a grognard….. i do not appreciate this upgrade-happy environment. i see no point, except ceos wanting to continue to bleed the public dry of their financial lifeblood (ferengi b^stards!). i think everyone is in waaaayyyyyyy too much of a hurry to ram upgrades down peoples’ throats. i refuse to be forced. when someone tells me i must do something, even if it is for my own good, every bone in my body, every inborn instinct tells me to dig my heels in.

    they did not ask politely, then offer to recompense me for my time and trouble.

    what folks forget is that we pay for everything here. we pay out ridiculous amounts of money for the computer. we pay for internet service. we pay for every single inconvenience.

    it is up to the sites to support the older browsers, regardless of what the techno geeks think.

    there are more folks in the world that are not tech savvy than those that are, and i do not think people should be “educated” and worse yet, coerced into upgrading.

    i am from the old school. if it aint broke….. dont fix it. and more importantly, if it is working, dont break it.

    yeah….. i guess i am a grognard or a dunsel, but i am a dunsel with a bad attitude….. and i like that about myself.

    i have much more hostile viewpoints about corporate and this tendency, but i am among polite company here, so i am behaving myself. the subject is something i am passionate about.

    i think in this environment of money grubbing and upgrades that something vital has been lost here….. the plain old fun of doing a few simple things online for personal reward. the constant barrage of denied sites and coerced upgrades are, frankly, destroying that.

    it needs to stop, plain and simple.

    ’nuff said.

    1
  99. 175

    hello there , i am using IE V8 which you call out dated. something has been giving me a problem and ive run very intense scans daily
    because i prefer to do that. Add-ons are giving me nothing but problems. dont get me wrong , okay ? i can hold my own on a pc , but how it all works in the CPU under my desk is not happening. what i mean is that i enjoy the pc which we purchased when i got hurt at work. i know win xp support stops in april 2014. BUT , i seen a couple of articles from microsoft that they were or have extended the support. ” they said that “. when i said dont get me wrong , but you cannot use IE V9 IN WIN XP and in fact the article i read said
    sorry WIN XP users , do not d/l V9 if you have WIN XP. IE V9 only if you have windows 7 , which i dont. IE V10 and again i read it thru the mouths of the babe , MSN , their ready to put IE V10 ( no beta ) out and in fact it might be out already.for all i know. now their
    already working on V11. so now i have to see what i’ll do and i dont know. Don B…..

    0
  100. 176

    Looks like Google is stopping development on Chrome Frame. It would be great for Chrome Frame to be removed, or replaced with an alternative (if there is one).

    0
  101. 177

    IE doesn’t run on y system (hint: It’s not M$ or Apple). Thank God… the worst browser made by an equally pathetic company. Change the heading from quit using “old browsers” to “stop using IE”. Better yet, change it to “stop using Microsoft.”

    0
  102. 178

    Looks like Google is stopping development on Chrome Frame. It would be great for Chrome Frame to be removed, or replaced with an alternative (if there is one).

    0
  103. 179

    happy independence day

    August 11, 2014 9:26 am

    I don’t understand why IE has not reached a ‘usable’ standard after all these years and versions. Especially when it comes to design and back-end technical aspects of web development, IE can prove very annoying – especially when doing cross domain calls and AJAX modules.

    IE doesn’t run on y system (hint: It’s not M$ or Apple). Thank God… the worst browser made by an equally pathetic company. Change the heading from quit using “old browsers” to “stop using IE”. Better yet, change it to “stop using Microsoft.”

    0
  104. 180

    One day this entire “Upgrade your browser” mantra will be seen as laughably quaint. Why? Because the whole premise is flawed, based on outdated thinking. Until there is some UNIVERSAL standard — one which can be AUTOMATICALLY installed on all computers, regardless of the age of the computer, operating system, etc etc, there will always be this unworkable jungle of “upgrades” ad infinitum.

    Notice that Amazon.com — the most heavily trafficked AND profitable commercial website in history –could care less what “browser” you have. They find a way to make it work!!!

    1
  105. 181

    Forcing people to use only the latest-and-greatest is a cop-out by lazy web developers. The browser version is, mostly, none of your business. You should be designing for the general public — meaning if it can’t work in Lynx then you aren’t designing* a good website. If you don’t know what Lynx is, then you need to learn and appreciate history and where this technology you make your living came from. Appreciate the past, don’t piss on it because it’s more than a few months old.

    Now, since you mentioned plugins as one of the benefits… some of the plugin developers have stopped releasing updates and the last versions have max version numbers (which was arbitrarily chosen) and unless you like renaming, unzipping, finding and updating some cryptic line, re-zipping, and re-renaming just to install an extension in the latest bleeding edge version, you just are gonna choose to not upgrade.

    So… Web Design Magazine and Web Designers: How about this: Design your sites to use Graceful Degradation. And, please, for the love of sanity: STOP with the popups telling me I’m using a browser version from a year ago!

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  106. 182

    I am 77 and have used Shaklee Products for 25-30 years. I have no interest in ‘having a better internet experience’. I was not offered that option. I was told I “must” upgrade. Thanks but no thanks. From now on I will order by phone so Shaklee will have to hire more people to handle phone calls. I know that I am not the only “computer idiot” in the world that wants to order Shaklee products online.

    0

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