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December 14th, 2007

Why I Hate Web Designers, Too

Disclaimer: I am a web designer. And other disclaimer: this is a rant I’ve already shared with a couple of people. So I’m on a roll.

Something I just don’t understand anymore is designing a website so it only works in Internet Explorer. I mean, I can imagine the discussions that go on behind the scenes: “It’s got 85%-90% market share!” “Everyone uses it!” “We’ll save money!” But let’s be honest, kids: it’s almost 2008. I shouldn’t be seeing any sites that are specific to one browser anymore (and I’m going to throw “iPhone-enhanced” ones in here too.)

Here’s what happened. I needed to use a site in order to access some forms. So I clicked on a handy link and got a super duper unsupported browser page. Not surprising, as I’m currently using OmniWeb – which has Safari’s engine at its core – and I think most sites can’t figure out what it is. But more amusing to me was the reason given for the unsupportedness:

“Why don’t you support other browsers?
[website] uses some cutting edge AJAX technology that is implemented differently between Internet Explorer and other browsers and isn’t even available on some browsers. Since Internet Explorer is provided on all Windows PCs, even users who have chosen to use Firefox, Netscape or other browsers can still use [website] by simply using IE.”

They claim they’ll add support for Firefox and Safari “in the near future” but that does me no good, because I need to access these forms today. Oh and I USE A MAC YOU DORKS.

“…and isn’t even available on some browsers.” Yes! Like Netscape 4, iCab, Mosaic, IE 3, and Lynx!

Moreover though: “cutting edge AJAX technology?” That’s what gets me the most. As a website user I should never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever be exposed to the technology underneath. Who the hell knows or cares what AJAX is? Do your grandparents? Should they? Unless they’re web professionals, no! Of course not!

Worse, as a web designer I know for a fact that’s a lazy designer’s excuse. AJAX can (and should, duh!) be coded to work in all browsers. Heck, I work with it every day! And I know I’d be fired in an instant if I decided to make things work in just one browser and then said, “You know what? The browser I coded for, Firefox, only has a 5-10% market share – but it follows the standards correctly, and that’s enough. Let’s put up a message and tell people the exact trendy buzzname of the technology we’re using so they get pissed! And everyone uses Firefox anyway, duh!”

It just makes me mad. I wrote the company and asked what “cutting edge AJAX technology” they were using – because I was curious. Because I want to turn around and say, “No! You CAN do this in ANY other browser too! Stop it! Stop it!”

It’s 2008. IE isn’t the only browser. Anyone who claims otherwise is a lazy liar.

(And yeah, OmniWeb lets me change the user agent – so websites can think I’m using IE. That got me in the door, but then the CUTTING EDGE AJAX kept me from accessing my forms. The cutting edge – OW!)

Posted in Technology

paul December 17, 2007, 12:41 pm

god yes, this annoys the bejeezus out of me. it’s moronic.

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