4

My web app is voluntary optimized for Chrome. It works on IE and Firefox but the user can find some design issues with old browsers like IE 8. It's a professional app' on an intranet and a some users don't use Chrome.

I'd like to display on the Home page something like "This site is optimized for Chrome" and may be a link to https://www.google.com/chrome/

Is-it a good idea to do that ? What is the "best" way to inform the user this app' is optimized for a specific browser ? Should I encourage the user to download Chrome ?

13

Don't inform them.

Provided it works fine on all browers and doesn't look a huge mess in IE8 (see 'Graceful Degradation') then why bother telling users to update their browser? The chances are if they're using an old browser it's because they don't have a choice - it could be a corporate network where they don't have permission / ability to update, for example. Telling them to update doesn't mean that they will. It'll more likely annoy them. "Everyone else is welcome, but you can't come in here with those shoes on sir".

You telling them that they are out of date isn't going to win you any favours from them. Ensure you've built the app using proper web standards so that it actually works. Telling them their browser is out of date is really just an admission on your part that "we haven't bothered making this site work properly on your device, it's your fault and you should do something about it". In fact it is not their fault the site doesn't work - it is yours. Especially considering this is an Intranet app, so you should have known what the browsers that it would be used on were so should build the app accordingly.

If you're not able to do anything about it then don't draw attention to the fact the site doesn't work ideally, just let them get on with it themselves. Ensure the site works and don't nag them that they're at fault.

  • 1
    Some people use old browsers even though they can upgrade and/or switch. For example, a friend of mine could not use a website on her old version of Safari on her laptop, once I showed her how to upgrade Safari, she did, and the problem was fixed. The website could have helped her by letting her know that she can fix her problems by upgrading Safari or switching to another browser, instead the website just broke in confusing ways. – Flimm Sep 19 at 10:14
0
  1. The most ideal solution would be to support any browser that your users use.
  2. The next best solution is to tell your visitors if their browser is not supported, and how to upgrade or switch browser.
  3. The worst solution is to just let the website break in mysterious ways on unsupported browsers.

People on old browsers don't need to experience websites that break in mysterious ways, but they do need to be told how they can use a website without experiencing strange bugs. Letting users know that they can upgrade their browser or switch to a modern browser is helpful. Even users who are stuck on an old browser and cannot upgrade for whatever reason benefit from this, at least they know that the problem can't be fixed (on that browser), and they can diagnose the source of the problem quicker.

I recommend reading this fun blog post A Conspiracy to Kill IE6 by a Google engineer. He worked on YouTube when they dropped support for IE6 and told users to upgrade or switch. Particularly relevant for us is that just displaying a message saying that support for IE6 would be dropped soon caused the number of users on IE6 to drop by half within a month!

By the way, please don't support just one browser or recommend only one browser, that is a bad user experience and risks harm to the web if a browser gains a monopoly and misuses it.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.