Mommy, What’s a Web Browser?

Here's why I'm sharing this story: there are a lot of Internet users like my mom. As web developers and engineers, we live in a fantasy world where every user understands exactly what he or she is doing on the Internet and has a deep appreciation for web standards. The real world doesn't reflect the fantasy at all. Users don't understand the Internet; they don't understand web browsers. If they don't understand web browsers, that means they also don't understand if they're using a good browser or a bad browser, nor do they understand how to upgrade it.

For many, the Internet is just an icon on their desktop with a particular logo and color just like the toaster is a black or silver box that sits on the kitchen counter. What brand of toaster do you have? Who cares? You know how to make your morning bagel with it, right? For many of the billion Internet users, web browsers are simply a box that displays stuff. Whether or not that stuff has rounded corners and drop shadows is irrelevant. Whether or not you want them to change that box is irrelevant.

So the next time you get angry at "those damn IE6 users," stop and realize that these are people who probably have no idea what a web browser is. They're a lot like the poor senior citizens who were still paying toAlease their phone from the phone company - what they had worked, so they didn't see a reason to change. The sooner you accept that most of your users don't even know what a web browser is, the better you'll be able to design appropriate experiences and messaging for them.>


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Posted: November 12th, 2010
at 4:03pm by Koookiecrumbles

Categories: web,mnp is for the children

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