Firefox Evangelism

I have to do a lot of my browsing at work now and, when I do, I am forced to use IE. It’s not my choice but there is absolutely nothing I can do about it. What has prompted today’s little grump is the increased incidence of the following:

I am starting to see a few sites out there with little pop-ups and javascript doodads that say things like “We see you are using Internet Explorer! You dumb f***! Download Firefox now, it’s so much better!”

I can see where these are coming from. You want to spread the word of Firefox – good for you – but this way just… Bugs me. One person had it set up so that I couldn’t even view his blog using IE – the “switch to FF” message never went away. The reason for this was because there was a javascript call involved in making it go away – and javascript is disabled on my work computer. It’s since been changed to a large header that disfigures the blog in question when viewed using IE but even that, well, disfigures the blog.

I agree that Firefox is a vastly superior browser to IE for a lot of reasons. I aplaud the attempts to spread the word. But I don’t think pissing off your readers is the best way to go about it. If I could switch to FF at work, I would (I made them instal FF on all our lab computers last summer *devil*) but alas I don’t have the luxury of working in a small university lab any more. We’re locked into IE and that’s all there is to say about it. Telling me that I am doing something wrong when there is NOTHING to be done about it bugs me. Simple as that. I’m less likely to read your excellent (and I know it’s excellent because I read it at home – using Safari by the way. I tried Firefox and switched back) content and more likely to spread my disatisfaction in blog posts. Like this one.

On top of that what about the people out there like my poor mum? She wouldn’t know a browser if it got up and introduced itself, let alone be able to make an informed decision as to whether FF is better than IE (we’re talking hypothetically here. My Mum uses Safari). If she comes to a site and is greeted with a “click here” message she’s likely to click here (her browsing is still at the more luck than judgement stage – she hasn’t yet developed the ‘ad blindness’ long-term surfers develop as a survival tactic). As far as she’s concerned if it’s on your webpage, it’s a legitimate link. Which in this case is fine I am sure, because you’re not going to be evil and try to take over my mother’s computer with an evil virus? Are you?

My point – my wonderful Mum doesn’t need to know what a browser is to look at webpages. All she needs for now is to know to click on the blue compass to open up the program she needs. If she ever wants to know the finer details between browsers, well, I will be more than happy to explain but somehow I think that day is a long way off. She’s just going to get confused, baffled, and upset if your site is constantly telling her to change how she does things. That leads to a phone call to me, which in turn leads to a long involved conversation that ends up with me battering my head against the desk and cursing the day you decided to code a webpage.

So there you have it – Cas’ plea to the Firefox Evangelists. Stop telling me the way I do things is wrong. It’s rude, annoys me, and has the potential to make my Mum upset. Trust me, you don’t want to be the one who made my Mum upset.

11 thoughts on “Firefox Evangelism

  1. I was going to rant about that too, a lot of the things people do are really unecessary.

    Could you not use portable Firefox on a thumb drive?

  2. I’m not that enamoured of Firefox to bother to be honest – I like the extensions, and it is superior so far as security is concerned etc – but my browsing at work isn’t really so important that Firefox is essential.

    That, and our corporate intranet and website is completely borked on Firefox – have to use IE when looking at them!

  3. Oooh oooh!! I know who you’re talking about. At least I think I know who you’re talking about. Isn’t that disfigurement…my blog? Then again, at least I think if you scroll down, it shouldn’t really bother people at all though. At least it doesn’t block people now like what happened to you before. Does it really bother you that much?

  4. Edrei, it doesn’t bug me enough to stop reading, but yeah, it bothers me. I just don’t like my reading/browsing experience being hijacked like that – the stubborn streak in me hates being told what to do 😀

    weisheng, I’m guilty of a little Apple zealotry myself sometimes (it’s so pretty!) but I try to behave myself.

    Yes Surly, Mac = oodles better than Microsoft.

  5. This post inspired me to boot up IE and look at Edrei’s blog for myself, and oh dear, that is a particularly appalling pop-up. Sorry Edrei, I’m fully with Cas on this one. Most work places are locked into one set of software and it’s a sackable offence to download other software onto your computer (so don’t get any ideas Cas!).

    I fully agree that Firefox is superior to IE, once I got used to the tabbed browsing I’ve been a happy little bunny with it, but that pop-up is as bad as the people who come knocking on your door to tell you your religion is wrong and you should join theirs. It’s just not a polite thing to do.

  6. Although I have to contend with IE’s quirks and nuances every single day from a development point of view, even I think the ‘block IE approach’ is pretty obnoxious. Don’t get me wrong, I preach the Firefox gospel regularly, but IE support is still paramount in ‘todays web’.

  7. Yup, I think we’re all agreed – it’s just plain rude. Don’t do it people!

    And welcome (possibly welcome back) to Bright Meadow Paul 🙂

  8. I am quite a fan of Maxthon: unlike IE, it doesn’t crash when too many new windows are open, and you can have tabbed browsing. For my typographic sensibilities, it displays all characters in the correct font—something Mozilla did up to Netscape 4·7, and never did after that …

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