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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.
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.
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
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!
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 :)
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.
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.