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Too Cool For IE

This is by no means a Microsoft or Internet Explorer bashing post. But, I am in the mood for ranting a little bit, so it might come across as an anti-Redmond.

You may have noticed, then again, you may have not noticed, that I put the ever-so-popular "Too Cool For IE" image at the bottom-right corner of the browser window. That is, if you are using Firefox, Opera, or any other standards compliant browser. If using IE, you will find that the transparent .png file is not transparent at all, and it sits up the in the upper right of the page. This is because IE is not very fond of the CSS attribute "position: fixed;", so it puts it where it pleases, and it doesn't know how to handle transparent .png images.

There seems to have been a lot of buzz surrounding the "Too Cool For IE" images that are popping up all over the place. Generally, the acceptance has not been positive, but rather, quite negative. And yet we are seeing them everywhere, more and more. One particular post that I stumbled upon that just made me laugh was at Pink Thinker. Let me give you the highlights:

  • She (or he- guys can like pink) is fairly open-minded.
  • Only Firefox users have embraced the paradigm.
  • I am be too lazy when I design pages that don't support IE.
  • Sites are made to function in browsers and not the other way around.
  • You don't adjust your browser settings for your liking.
  • Don't tell your visitor that their browser is wrong, because you're not Microsoft.
  • No "normal visitor" will ever study different browsers.
  • "Normal visitors" don't have the time to use alternative browsers.
  • "Normal visitors" who see the orange "Too Cool For IE" will immediately leave the site, regardless of the information presented.
  • This trend started for the wrong reason.
  • "Normal visitors" don't care if IE doesn't position a page correctly.
  • "Normal visitors" also don't know you (that's a relief) or your browser of chioce.
  • "Normal visitors" are all male.

There it is in a nutshell. Now, I have a lot of concerns in that post. So, where to begin? How about the start? Sounds like a good place.

First, the whole you're an open-minded sort of person. I have a hard time with that, regardless of how petty it seems. The people who claim they are open-minded never are. It's just like the people who say they are humble, yet somehow, always end up to be the most cocky. Your post was not open-minded, and it didn't lead me to believe so.

Second, I love your claim that only Firefox users have embraced this trend. Where did you get that data? Browsing the site shows more than just Firefox, but Opera, Omniweb, Camino and Safari. So, certainly, you can't get that claim from the people who started it. How about the people embracing it? Well, I don't know these people or the browser they use (I'll get to that in a minute), but I imagine that these people use other browsers than just Firefox.

Thirdly, your claim about laziness, coding pages for the browser and adjusting your browser settings. Where are you going with this? You probably didn't do very good in history class, did you? If you did, you would remember the browser wars of the '80s, and how each browser manufacturer was designing new HTML tags that worked only in their browser. You obviously don't remember what a mess that was. Pages are not meant to be designed "for the browser" any longer. This is the new paradigm shift that browser makers need to embrace: standards. If a page is developed on standards, then "cross browser compatibility" will no longer be an issue. And designing pages after standards is far more difficult than designing pages that work in all browsers. Being a web dev, I know. It is way too easy to just throw up some HTML code, and make it render in every browser flawlessly. Lastly, the user should not be changing the browser settings, but the browser software company should. Ultimately, the user is the one affected, and will decided which browser to use. If the browser doesn't render the page properly, then they will use a new browser. Which brings me to my next point.

If I'm not Microsoft, I can't tell the visitor that the browser they are using is wrong? Why? Since when did I need their permission? Although this may come across as a little defiant, I am wondering what your point is here. Last I checked, within legal ramifications, this is my site, and I can tell whomever I please whether or not they are using the right browser. Heck, using just a little code, I could prevent you entirely from accessing my site until you are using a browser that I think you should use. Sounds a little like a dictatorship? Ever been to Windows Update with a non-IE browser? That's what I thought.

Next, you get into this whole "normal visitor" stuff. Define "normal visitor". Really. I'm interested in your definition. My parents are the most computer illiterate people on the face of the earth, and they use Firefox. Heck, the whole family does, including my 9 year-old brother, and I had hardly anything to do with it. So, because my family uses an alternative browser, they are not defined as a "normal visitor"? Just curious. "Normal visitors" do take the time to study not only different browsers, but much much more. "Normal visitors" are concerned about their security, just as much as your are, and when they learn IE isn't secure, they begin to look elsewhere. Also, your usage of the term "normal visitors" leaves me to believe that they aren't educated, and don't have a clue. I would be more concerned about offending people in your post than trying to twart off a trend.

You mention that this trend started for the wrong reason, yet you never give what the reason is, what it should be, or how it can be resolved- if in fact it is the wrong reason. You just continue to make assumptions about browsers and "normal visitors" and designing pages, etc. Really. Please define what you mean when you say this trend started for the wrong reason.

Lastly, I like how halfway through the page, all of your "normal visitors" become male. Now, I'm getting a little ridiculous here, and I can't stand political correctness, but it is too funny to pass up. I was just curious why you chose this sex. Again, going back to your implying that "normal visitors" aren't educated, leads me to believe that you are saying males aren't educated which further leads me to believe that you are a well educated male-hating female. Married? Boy-friend? College degree? Just curious. And of course people don't know who you are or what your browser of choice is. Why would they care? How would they know? That comment in your post leads me to believe that you aren't as educated as you try putting yourself up to be. Do you honestly believe that people know the webmaster (or the site owner) when visiting the page? Again, just being ridiculous, but I had to.

To wrap up (I know this has been a lengthy post), the reason the "Too Cool For IE" images are showing up, is because we are sending a message to everyone, and hopefully Microsoft that we want to begin seeing standards compliance in IE. See, you're missing the whole point of the trend. It isn't to shove alternative browsers down peoples throats and force them to use it when visiting a site (like Microsoft does), but make people aware that they are missing out on a greater experience. Sure, IE controls the market right now, but it is slipping. You know that. I know that. Firefox is continually burning a hole in the dominance the IE has played for so many years. And when IE finally catches up to the features that so many of these browsers currently include, Firefox (and other browsers) will have passed that spot so many years prior. The trend isn't about arrogance or anarchy, but awareness. The trend is about fashion. The trend is about standards. The trend is about letting people know how they can improve their experience if they would just use another browser.

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