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When writing websites we often have to do feature detection, then figure out a plan for how to handle unsupported features (graceful degradation), sometimes being forced to resort no "not supported" messages asking the user to upgrade their browser.

A lot of work's been done in creating libraries to aid in graceful degradation, but the messages given to users when a feature's not supported are still mostly hand rolled by the developers.

Are there any sites which offer user friendly explanations of common features which may not be supported, along with instructions on why they may wish to upgrade their browser, and with links to the various browser's download sites?

i.e. so instead of my doing this:

<canvas id="myCanvas">
    Sorry, but your browser does not support this feature.  
    I recommend trying 
    <a href="https://chrome.google.com/" target="_blank">Google Chrome</a> 
    instead.
</canvas>

I could link to a site dedicated to such messages, where they could justify putting a lot more thought into the response. e.g.

<canvas id="myCanvas">
    Sorry, your browser does not support this feature; 
    for more information and instructions on how to resolve this issue 
    please refer to this 
    <a href="https://www.demouri.org/notsupported/canvas" target="_blank">support article</a>.
</canvas>
  • Have you seen the site http://caniuse.com/? It has a pretty good list of what's supported in major browsers. You could link an error to a page like caniuse.com/#feat=forms. I would imagine that most features you're explaining are limited to which browser they have installed, am I correct? – Andrew Jun 30 '14 at 19:21
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    Check out this website: outdatedbrowser.com – Mark Bubel Jul 1 '14 at 15:24
  • Thanks @MarkBubel; not exactly what I'm after but definitely the best so far / shows someone else thinking along the same lines. – JohnLBevan Jul 1 '14 at 17:20
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I know this could be off the chart but just want to share this

enter image description here

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  • Haha, I heard about that; sadly not relevant, but funny & appreciated. – JohnLBevan Jul 1 '14 at 21:42
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I personally don't like the idea of graceful degradation, especially now that almost every new Windows PC from an OEM ships with Chrome preinstalled and Mac's should mostly have some sort of version of Safari that supports most HTML5 features.

One approach is that the app is either fully supported or it doesn't work and the user is pointed to a free web browser that is supported. There isn't a huge barrier for a user to install Chrome; it takes about 5 minutes on any modern computer with a decent internet connection, and, just like the old PC system requirements, your web app can have browser requirements.

A big app that uses this same approach is Asana. It simply doesn't work on non-supported browsers and they give the user a little image with links to the browsers that are supported. Rather than "piecemealing" your app to support unsupported browsers and telling your users that their browser isn't support for x amount of reasons and features, spend more time making the app work really well across the browsers that are fully supported.

Also, depending on your app's audience, giving them a link to some technical description of why something isn't working is just a pain and they probably won't understand or care. I know that my users at my company don't care why something doesn't work; they just need to know how to make it work and they will be happy.

Another approach is to simply not say anything and just degrade or shim the web app gracefully. The user shouldn't even know it's happening.

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    I don't think this advice is relevant; JohnLBevan's situation seems to be that he's committed to graceful degradation, and wants to make it work helpfully. – Vince Bowdren Jul 1 '14 at 9:49
  • Thanks both. I agree that you don't want to go too far on graceful degradation; but you do want to ensure that if there is a loss of functionality due to incompatibility the user knows about it and knows what to do. You can point them somewhere and say "download and install this, then the site will work", but anyone on an old browser is probably on it for a reason (e.g. maybe they're scared of viruses / don't download anything on principle). Having a trusted site which talks them through in non-technical language means I just give them a link and they can resolve, learn & appreciate. – JohnLBevan Jul 1 '14 at 14:50
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FavBrowser as very good ones for the specific case of Internet Explorer 6:

Why People are Still Using Internet Explorer 6? REAL IE6 usage reasons

You Seem to Be Using IE6 You Seem to Be Using IE6.

Internet Explorer 6 Motivation brave to ask a girl out

How To Deal With People That Use Internet Explorer 6 IE hate, you can never have too much of it.

Internet Explorer 6 CSS Mess CSS Mess

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