Don’t worry, this is not a post about Internet Explorer’s support (or lack thereof) of code support, but instead solely focused on the end user experience. I regularly try out a number of web browser, and I have one question:
Why would anyone use Internet Explorer?
I’m only talking about their latest version, IE 7 here, and the way I see it, it doesn’t offer anything particular that no-on else does. There have been lots of discussions about the UI and if it’s actually user-friendly, and I won’t go into to the entire thing but to say that it just seems stupid to hide away the File, Edit etc menu (although it magically appears when you press Alt). Most inexperienced web browsers users use IE, so to hide something as fundamental as that, and give them an inconsistent experience from (basically) all other programs, doesn’t seem to be the smartest way to go.
Surf around a while with IE, and then switch to Firefox or Opera and feel the difference. To me, IE feels flimsy and shaky, and it has a nasty flicker when scrolling on a web page with a lot of pictures. Overall, IE seems slower, but naturally, some serious tests have to be made to verify this.
Another thing that thoroughly annoys me is that opening a new tab takes over a second (!) for me in IE as opposed to milliseconds in the other two. They have implemented a zooming feature (although Opera’s zooming is way better implemented), but the result of this is that is almost impossible to find how to resize just the text, if desired.
Yeah, well, I guess this is a given point with IE. IE has a history of being extremely insecure, and as long as they persist on having such a close tie-in between Windows and the web browser itself, it is without a doubt more prone to security risks than their competitors.
Firefox has a dominating lead in this field with a myriad of amazing Firefox add-ons, and I think this is one of the reasons it has become so popular. IE 7 is trying their best with Internet Explorer add-ons and Opera has their Plug-ins, but no one is even close to Firefox in this field.
Sidetracking with a little personal rant…
As a little sidetrack (please forgive me for this), but with my post about semantic URLs the other day close in mind, compare the URLs for IE’s add-ons to the Firefox and Opera equivalents:
- Internet Explorer add-ons
- Firefox add-ons
- Opera Plug-ins
Let’s just say that different companies has various understandings about how the web should work… 😐
Something that a lot of people love about Opera is the ability to control web browsing through Opera mouse gestures. There’s a Firefox Mouse Gestures add-on to accomplish the same, and also Mouse Gestures for Internet Explorer.
I rather prefer using the keyboard as much as the possible, but some are mouse addicted. If you are, check out the three above to find what suits you best.
I’m open-minded, and want you to use the web browser that suits your need the best. However, I think that most people using IE don’t know about the alternatives plainly just don’t want to. From my experience, people use IE for one or several of these reasons:
- They don’t know about the alternatives (without a doubt, the number one reason).
- It’s pre-installed on their computer, so they just start it and go (definitely related to the reason above).
- Some very poorly developed web sites, like certain bank sites and others, only supports one web browser on one platform. Really capturing the essence and the spirit of the web… Not.
- It’s, for reasons beyond me, a company policy from narrow-minded System Administrators to narrow them down to one web browser.
- They like everything from Microsoft, and would use it no matter the quality.
- They tried something based in the open-source community in 1995, didn’t like it, and will never give it a whirl again.
Any reason I’ve missed? Is Internet Explorer your primary web browser and you like it? Please tell my why, I won’t criticise you, but is genuinely interested in why you like it.