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Yet another big site with a bigoted webmaster

 10:35 pm on Oct 4, 2000 (gmt 0)

jfr: the name of the forum is The New Browser Wars : Webmasters vs Users.

When I wrote that, I was more interested in making a point than a successful forum. I agree the title needs to be changed.

Or does it?


Enter that site with anything but ie or netscape as an agent name, and you are redirected to a "upgrade your browser" page. How insulting. A simple change of agent name to IE, and walk in, the site works fine. Another site that just lost a potential customer and created a vocal critic due to browser bigotry.



 1:12 am on Oct 5, 2000 (gmt 0)

Sometimes an impression like that can come from badly thought out logic in the code.

Right after the Flash 4 plug-in was released, I installed it and took it our for a test drive. It was very interesting to see how many webmasters had written their code to check whether the browser had the Flash 3 plugin, instead of checking for version 3 or better.

Because I had Flash 4, the code on lots of sites wouldn't even let me in until I "upgraded" to version 3.


 11:29 am on Oct 5, 2000 (gmt 0)

And the kicker? Their complaint address is bouncing email.


 12:59 pm on Oct 5, 2000 (gmt 0)

Agree,, this is a company that does'nt understand customer service.

But its absolutely crazy. Whonn their right mind will upgrade a browser to look at a site you dont know anything about.

It wont last long.


 1:42 am on Oct 19, 2000 (gmt 0)

I did try to use this funny browser called Enigma (whoping 275k) and got in with no problem or update message. That's one good point for Enigma.


 2:39 am on Oct 24, 2000 (gmt 0)

A great example of what not to do with a website. They actually paid somebody to make this site.


 2:53 am on Oct 24, 2000 (gmt 0)

D***, I hate it when this thread surfaces, I just know it's going to be one of mine. Nope, missed again.


 3:29 am on Oct 24, 2000 (gmt 0)

>Agree,, this is a company that does'nt understand customer service.

Ha! Try using their cellular services...

They have a cute "Customer Survey" popup right now, lay it on 'em :)


 10:28 pm on Nov 28, 2000 (gmt 0)

Sorry to resurrect this thread, but I'm a bit annoyed :o

I've just been trying to check out the site of a local newspaper who we advertise with, but couldn't get past the first page.

The browser sniffer checked for IE, NN, Opera and WebTV, but then denied access to anything else. What's wrong with serving up a vanilla page if the sniffer can't detect your browser???

Why am I giving these people ad revenue?

Apologies for this completely pointless post, I'm just having a GRRRRRRR moment and felt the need to vent


 10:50 pm on Nov 28, 2000 (gmt 0)

It's not a pointless post -- it's a top notch point and good to keep in every developer's mind. Somehow the logic of having one page for the browser that doesn't register on any test at all escapes a lot of designers.

Even more, how about not redirecting everyone? How about sniffing but letting at least one flavor of visitor stay right there -- give them the content and only redirect the others. A page that doesn't redirect everyone has a much better chance of ranking well.

One of the interesting things about browsing with NN6 is finding out who has poorly thought out sniffers. I came on two sites that told me I needed to upgrade to 4.7!


 11:45 pm on Nov 28, 2000 (gmt 0)

>Even more, how about not redirecting everyone?

Or even *anyone*

For my part I don't use browser sniffing at all - I think it's always safest to design a site that'll work well (if not perfectly) across the board, for example I use CSS for cosmetic purposes but not where being without it would make the site unviewably ugly.

After all, who knows what the next generation of browsers or the next 'big thing' in terms of connectivity (ref Bush Internet [bushinternet.co.uk]) will be and how it'll react?

Happily, this approach also tends towards smaller pages / less fluff / more text links etc, which is nice.

'Back to Basics' is my mantra :)


 12:14 am on Nov 29, 2000 (gmt 0)

>Back to Basics' is my mantra :)

And it's a good one.

Wish every client I had was onboard with that.


 12:55 am on Nov 29, 2000 (gmt 0)

>Back to Basics' is my mantra :)

"On with the Basics" is better. It implies forward movement.



 2:56 am on Nov 29, 2000 (gmt 0)

can only agree with the KISS principle,, Keep it Simple Stupid!

I'm a Jakob Nielsen fan, but its not without reason. His ideas may grate with hi tech webmasters, and especially those who are selling all the fluff technology that makes Web site design seem like flying a 747 rather than the simple direct communication method it was designed to be and that empowered everyone to be a able to create a message that goes out to the world.

Some flashy technology is greatand utilitarian - depending on the goals of the site, but 99% of it detracts from the power of the message, and drives away users.

Maybe one good side affect of the Dot Com plunge maybe to dirve some of these high priced technologies, designed by their developers to make a killing on the web, into unprofitability.

Our simple text links pages just get found and read much more than others.


 5:53 pm on Nov 29, 2000 (gmt 0)

This may be a little off taopic, but I think that chiyo brought up a good point. They lack customer service, as do 95% of all internet based companies/websites. For those just starting out, treat your customers like gold, and you'll be far ahead of your competition. And remember, if you don't treat them right, someone like me will come along that will :)


 6:37 am on Nov 30, 2000 (gmt 0)

Let's also not forget that in some countries you can be sued for accessibility problems. Remember the suit over IBM's slow, irritating, all-graphics page for the Olympics? and the suit against AOL for accessibility problems with their proprietary service?


 7:00 am on Nov 30, 2000 (gmt 0)

I have a philosphy about the hi-tech bells and whistles. It comes from Brian Eno, the ground breaking musician. He said "When everything's white, nothing's white."

On a website, when everything's high-tech and wowie-zowie, nothing's high-tech. Worse than that, with too many fancy tricks, almost every user will encounter at least one unplanned for dysfunction.

Ah, but the power of one, compatibility-conscious, well thought out, center stage tech-trick. I think a great example of this is the way MacroMedia uses their own Flash technology on their site [macromedia.com].

No grandiose 5 minutes-to-download, full screen Flash movie here. But very effective communication, IMO.

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