A comment about IE7 and back-hacks compatibility

 2006-02-18

Posted on the IE7 blog :

To blog http://blogs.msdn.com/ie/comments/480242.aspx

To Philip J Fry :
Difficult to educate the public, in fact.

We are company A. Yesteray the phone rang. A Mrs Roe lady started to tell me we are company B. As I protested we are not company B, but company A, she claimed even more vehemently we are comany B. I decided to turn around the problem and kindly ask here why she knows we are company B. She told me she entered company B name in her brwoser and was directed to our site.

For her, since entering company B name in her browser bring her to our site, then we are company B, even if our site is clearly stating, from logo to bottom contact address, that we are company A. very clever.

But that's not all. As you certainly understood, Mrs Roe did not enter company B name in the adress bar of her browser. Actually, she did enter it in the search engine bar. Since there is, on a remote page of our site - not even in thye front page -, a note about company B, Mrs Roe was offered a search result page with our site on front rank, and clicked on it being sure it was Company B she reached.

The conclusion is clear :
- apart some geek, people do not understand what is a web site.
- they do not make any difference between an adress bar and a search bar.
- they even don't understand the difference between "this site is company B site" and "this site contains the sentence 'company B'".

Which brings me to the point :
IE lack of support for standards so far is unforgivable.
But spending hours to develop hacks for so trivail things as a space in a legend box is not cleverer. Both IE and hacks developpers deserve what they now reap.

Rally, what is the mater if the legend box in IE display a blank and not in Firefox ? What does it change to the real navigation experience of Mrs Roe, which, I guess does not even know how to close the browser window ?

So here is my proposals :
- to Markus : don't care about hacks. Don't be afraid to break site that rellies on hacks. The only think you must be afraid of is breaking site that are standard compliants.
- to web developers : develop for the most standard compliants browser. Then test in using any browser having at elast a 5 % market pentration. Then remove anything that breaks so as to render navigation difficult. Simplify your lay-out if needed. In most case, ergonomy will improve just by renouncing to use that superb layouts that just breaks in the other browser. Most of all, do never relly on hacks just for the pleasure of the eye. It is not worth the risk.

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