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  1. #1
    SitePoint Addict wibble wobble's Avatar
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    Asking users to upgrade browser - Google do it too - acceptable?

    I've read many threads on SitePoint about browser wars, and there is almost always a brief exchange of:
    "I put 'FireFox ONLY!' on all my pages.'
    "That's treating your users bad. It's their choice."

    Well just to spark a bit of debate, I thought I'd let you know, GOOGLE DO THIS TOO!

    For the people who will cry 'lies', here's a screenshot of my gmail: (might need to wait till attachment is approved -- someone please confirm this?)



    I'm not supporting or criticizing this, just letting people know, when done respectfully it can really work.

    Thoughts?

    Edit: Turns out Operas website does this too! (found this out by total coincidence in this thread.)
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  2. #2
    SitePoint Author silver trophybronze trophy

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    I wonder why so many people think that anything Google does must be acceptable. There are numerous threads questioning the value of valid markup or a doctype declaration, since the Almighty Google doesn't use either.

    Google shows utter contempt towards all forms of web standards, and prefers to make up their own stuff to gain a monopoly situation. Very much like their main rival, Microsoft. On the other hand, Microsoft has recently shown some signs that it is paying more attention to standards (IE8 will be 100% CSS2.1 compliant, they promise).

    What's worse here is that Google seems to be sniffing the user agent string à la 1996 instead of using much more reliable object detection.
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  3. #3
    SitePoint Addict wibble wobble's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AutisticCuckoo View Post
    I wonder why so many people think that anything Google does must be acceptable. There are numerous threads questioning the value of valid markup or a doctype declaration, since the Almighty Google doesn't use either.
    I'm not saying it's acceptable "just because Google does it" to paraphrase. But they did it non-obtrusively and quite helpfully (pointing out it will improve the experience, the 'Learn more' link) -- that's what makes it acceptable. They are trying to help people.

    Google shows utter contempt towards all forms of web standards, and prefers to make up their own stuff to gain a monopoly situation. Very much like their main rival, Microsoft. On the other hand, Microsoft has recently shown some signs that it is paying more attention to standards (IE8 will be 100% CSS2.1 compliant, they promise).
    If maybe 1% of their user base (a big number) collectively use old browsers then surely they have only 3 options:
    1) Ask to upgrade and IMPROVE THEIR EXPERIENCE.
    2) Be impressively innovative and break web standards yet keep all browsers looking the same.
    3) Ruin use of their websites for all those people.

    Which would you choose?

    Also I can't agree with that at all -- Chrome does very well in standards compliance (eg see http://webtropic.wordpress.com/2008/...ds-compliance/ ). Since when did making up their own stuff become bad anyway?

    What's worse here is that Google seems to be sniffing the user agent string à la 1996 instead of using much more reliable object detection.
    "much more reliable object detection" -- I've not heard about any of these, got any links? (Not meaning that in a 'liar!' way -- I really am interested.)
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  4. #4
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    This is terrible usability. I would never ask one of my clients to put something like this on their website. It is a professional web designer's job to make things render properly in ALL browsers. That is what someone is paying a professional designer for. Anyone can build a site for one browser
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  5. #5
    SitePoint Addict wibble wobble's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Knicksfan77 View Post
    This is terrible usability.
    Care to explain your point rather than making a random unsupported statement?

    I would never ask one of my clients to put something like this on their website.
    None of your clients run one of the most visited websites on the internet - none of them *have* to cater for old browsers.

    It is a professional web designer's job to make things render properly in ALL browsers. That is what someone is paying a professional designer for.
    And heres me thinking a designer does designs *eye roll*

    Anyone can build a site for one browser
    Yet very few can build a site for every browser, like they do.

    Update: no surprise when I looked at your own websites html, your css, your uncompressed image file sizes, non-existent 404 and 403 pages, tried to submit a quotation mark in your form and had a little laugh at the result, saw the 'McAffee tested' picture...
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  6. #6
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    What is your beef? I run a full service interactive agency that creates site for large companies.

    The sites I am linking to are for a start-up we are playing with. They do render properly is Safari, Firefox, IE, on Mac and PC.

    My point was it is bad usability to tell a user that they need to do something before they can view your site. This will hurt your conversion rates and user experience as a whole. It is proven within data. If I was checking out a website, and it told me to user another browser to view it properly, I would personally move on. A greater percentage of people are using Firefox every day, but they are still the minority compared to IE users.

    If anything, design for IE, because more people use it, even if it blows
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  7. #7
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    Also, Google just launched its "Chrome" browser. Of course they will want people to download it. They have their best interests at heart here. Controlling someone's browser software leads to more revenue. With Chrome, you can type a keyword right into the URL box and search for a word. This leads to more PPC revenue. They are customizing their browser to give users the best experience, yes... but it is highly self serving
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  8. #8
    SitePoint Addict wibble wobble's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Knicksfan77 View Post
    What is your beef? I run a full service interactive agency that creates site for large companies.

    The sites I am linking to are for a start-up we are playing with. They do render properly is Safari, Firefox, IE, on Mac and PC.

    My point was it is bad usability to tell a user that they need to do something before they can view your site. This will hurt your conversion rates and user experience as a whole. It is proven within data. If I was checking out a website, and it told me to user another browser to view it properly, I would personally move on. A greater percentage of people are using Firefox every day, but they are still the minority compared to IE users.

    If anything, design for IE, because more people use it, even if it blows
    Again you seem to be making completely garbage remarks...

    "What is your beef?" -- you are crying about google trying to help users with old browsers calling it "bad usability" yet the site in your sig takes "bad usability" to a new level.

    "My point was it is bad usability to tell a user that they need to do something before they can view your site" - Again total rubbish. Have you looked a the screenshot? Users dont "need" to do anything -- it works fine.

    "This will hurt your conversion rates... It is proven within data." - Uh huh, and where is that proof? Oh it doesnt exist, right.

    "If I was checking out a website, and it told me to user another browser to view it properly" - Thats not what gmail does AT ALL.

    Also, Google just launched its "Chrome" browser. Of course they will want people to download it. They have their best interests at heart here. Controlling someone's browser software leads to more revenue. With Chrome, you can type a keyword right into the URL box and search for a word. This leads to more PPC revenue. They are customizing their browser to give users the best experience, yes... but it is highly self serving
    That's possibly the most stupid thing I've read since joining SP (and I see a lot of stupid stuff in the PHP forum).
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  9. #9
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    You are entitled to your opinion. I was not crying at all, just stating my thoughts...as you asked for them. I think Google is a brilliant company, and they help me earn my living. I could not be more pleased that they are pushing the download of Chrome. Good luck.
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  10. #10
    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AutisticCuckoo View Post
    What's worse here is that Google seems to be sniffing the user agent string la 1996 instead of using much more reliable object detection.
    Which is one of the reasons why I don't use any of the Google tools that do that since I often change the useragent string assigned in my browser to all sorts of different values for testing various things and often forget to change it back and then Google doesn't recognise any of my browsers and the page is therefore stuffed because their code thinks my browser isn't supported.
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  11. #11
    SitePoint Author silver trophybronze trophy

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    Quote Originally Posted by wibble wobble View Post
    "much more reliable object detection" -- I've not heard about any of these, got any links? (Not meaning that in a 'liar!' way -- I really am interested.)
    Browser sniffing:
    Code JavaScript:
    if (navigator.userAgent.toLowerCase().indexOf("gecko/") >= 0) {
        var foo = document.getElementById("foo");
    }

    Object detection:
    Code JavaScript:
    if (document.getElementById) {
        var foo = document.getElementById("foo");
    }
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  12. #12
    SitePoint Addict jemple's Avatar
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    Google are using it as a marketing tool.

    For non-browser sites, it can be viewd as helping the visitor to get the most from using your site.

    I cannot see a problem with recommending a group of browsers that a site renders best in.

  13. #13
    Nicking the Bevel Highway Seven's Avatar
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    Google offers web-based services in which certain browser functionality is necessary in order to use the service at hand. If an outdated browser doesn't allow you to use the service properly, I see nothing wrong with letting the user know.
    Daniel

  14. #14
    SitePoint Author silver trophybronze trophy

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    But wibble wobble is using Firefox, which is one of the 'fully supported' browsers. Thus s/he shouldn't have got this message at all if Google hadn't chosen to use an outdated and unreliable way of testing for browser compliance.
    Birnam wood is come to Dunsinane

  15. #15
    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jemple View Post
    Google are using it as a marketing tool.

    For non-browser sites, it can be viewd as helping the visitor to get the most from using your site.

    I cannot see a problem with recommending a group of browsers that a site renders best in.
    It might be somewhat reasonable if their test before displaying the message actually worked but it doesn't even recognise browsers properly in the first place.

    Gmail doesn't work in the latest version of Firefox on my computer because their code isn't doing the test properly to see what browser I am running. There isn't a more recent version of the browser for me to upgrade to as I am already running the latest version of a browser that is supposed to be supported but isn't because of their code that should have been replaced in 1998.
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  16. #16
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    Thanks for the logical responses guys. Things were spiraling out of control

    Owning a user's selection of a web browser does add a lot more revenue to a business. They can add pre-set bookmarked links, add search queries to their PPC engine, and integrate new tools that add additional revenue.

    I still firmly believe it should be the goal of a website or app to work the same in all browsers. It is not always possible... but that should be the goal
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  17. #17
    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Knicksfan77 View Post
    I still firmly believe it should be the goal of a website or app to work the same in all browsers. It is not always possible... but that should be the goal
    and if the JavaScript uses feature sensing properly then it can detect which browsers support the code it needs to use and offer full functionality to those browsers and offer a reduced function version for those that don't. The problem with GMail is that is uses a really antiquated inaccurate method of determining which browsers supposedly support what it wants and tells people running the latest browsers that their browser is unsupported and needs to be upgraded. In fact it is the code on their site that is what needs to be upgraded and their site is totally stuffed for many people until they fix their code.
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  18. #18
    PHP/Rails Developer Czaries's Avatar
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    This is probably a 100&#37; non-issue user error.
    $20 has it you had your JavaScript turned off and forgot about it.

    I have the web developer's toolbar as well and turned JS off because of an extremely annoying magazine site full of ads that I was reading an article on. I then casually navigated over to my Google mail account and saw pretty much the same exact thing you posted, sans the shameless advertising for your blog. I thought WTF for a moment, then realized I had JS turned off. So I turned it back on and refreshed the page. Viola - back to normal. The "fully supported browser" message and lack of AJAX == No JavaScript. So turn it back on, refresh the page, and put your axe away.


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