Time to browse elsewhere?

Like many people, I’m limited by the software I can use at work. I can’t download alternative browsers, install widgets or use alternatives to the programmes that have been selected by our IT department.

It’s sometimes frustrating, but that’s life, and I’d rather know that the system we use is stable and secure then be worrying about people in my team downloading dodgy bits of software.

IE6 warning on Monigma,com

IE6 warning on Monigma.com

I’ve got used to seeing messages like this, it’s a bit tiresome, but generally not offensive.

There are concerted campaigns underway to eradicate Internet Explorer 6 from the world, but that doesn’t mean it’s always immediately possible. IE6 is a pain, it doesn’t display things properly, it’s apparently buggy and a nightmare to develop for, but I’m stuck with it and that’s that.

I don’t so much object to the message, but the way it’s delivered.  Some websites are fine; Flickr’s is rather friendly and polite:

IE6 warning on Flickr.com

IE6 warning on Flickr.com

The messages vary slightly, but are generally simple and functional or take the warning tone in the first image, but none have been quite as hostile as this one:

IE6 warning on NoHotAir.com

IE6 warning on NoHotAir.com

In marketing terms visiting a company’s website is equivalent to meeting a customer at your place of business. Would you greet a potential client with “Shame on you” if they arrived in an old car? Even as a joke?! The visitor is then referred to as a Joomla fan. I’ve built a few websites, so I know what Joomla is. I’d bet many visitors wouldn’t know, especially those who are still using IE6 of their own volition. This website doesn’t have anything to do with web development or content management, so why greet me as a Joomla fan, any more than a Bon Jovi or Manchester United fan? Topping this off with the wrong year makes me doubt the validity of the other information on the website. If I was being picky, there’s a final inaccuracy in the last statement – you’re only “upgrading your IE” if you choose to upgrade to new version of Internet Explorer, ignoring the alternatives on offer. Technically it should read “upgrading your browser”.

So. Three sentences, four errors and an insult. Do I read on feeling hostile, or close my browser?

The front page of a website makes a big first impression – get this wrong and you’ll lose customers faster than you can say “upgrade your browser”!

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About Sam Elfer

Blogging about writing
This entry was posted in Attention to detail, Bad communications, First impressions and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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