About the Author:

With a career that has spanned advertising, production, technical services, and project management, Michael is able to articulate the wide range skills and professions that make the Internet work. This eclectic understanding and his desire to shine the light on those hiding behind techno babble has brought success to a wide range of projects.

Twitter @bissell

Linked In

Past Postings:

Using Dissent To Enhance Your Social Influence Online

Industry Profile - Author

Industry Profiles Full Time Employees - Professional Writer

Some Thoughts On Freelancing

Building Your Online Brand

Marissa Mayer and the Change in Yahoo's Remote Workforce

LinkedIn for Professional Writers

Fake Republican Twitter Accounts

"Did you mean?" -- Google's chiding nanny of search results

Branded Technology

Sharingspree.com -- Stealing more than GroupOn's Idea

The Internet Isn't Entertaining Enough

It's not your bank... It's Apple's and Amazon's

Violated by Madison Avenue

Google+ Scares Me

"We need to..." Internet Marketing Myths

Facebook's deal with the Devil

My cool new phone is a little too cool.

You are never alone

Promotion vs. Distribution... You'd think they'd know that one...

Publishing Industry Watch

Content for Social Media

Social Media Slot Machine

Anonymous vs Me

News from the Twitter Follow Campaign Trail

The art of Indiscriminate Twitter Following

The Cloudy Meaning of The Cloud

The Demand For The Loss of Creativity

Alien Technology and Government Conspiracies

Time for a New Reality

The Death of Email

Protecting Free Speech... Anonymously (and geekily)

Amazon Shouldn't Have Shut Down WikiLeaks

The Superpowers of the Hive Mind

Time for New Ideas

Comcast, Netflix and the Mystery of the Modem

The Great Technical Disconnect

New for the Sake of New

A Retail Store Built Like the Web

Disposable Personas

When did Google Start Policing the Internet?

Getting back to HTML basics, thanks to Apple

Inspecting my Navel Base

A shoebox vs. an online backup

Is Your "Resume" Website Recruiter-friendly?

iBooks -- Creative Epicenter or Gatekeeper?

The Failure of Success

The Economy is Going to Get Worse, but that's okay

Time lost on Twitter

Client Vendor Relationships

Twitter's back alleys and dark places

Social Media is NOT Advertising

Microsoft Courier

Form (designers) versus Function (geeks)

PDXBOOM -- The power of social media and the portland pipe bomb

China and Apple -- Different organizations, same management

The volume of screens


Google Adds Biking Directions to Maps


That magical little tablet

How your website can be in two places at once

Masterpieces created by sheer volume

Suing over lack of originality

A Primer on Internet Fame -- dancing babies, hamsters, numa numa, and more...

Checking my messages

Rules are made to be broken -- in a reasoned, systematic way

So many accounts, so few passwords

Who really uses Twitter? 60% of Twitter's traffic isn't on Twitter

The Web is a Jerry Rigged Kludge

Twitter: Asleep at the Mouse Wheel

Where regulation is good: Google Voice and Vonage

How Facebook is (unintentionally) forcing programmers to piss off users

The Twit Cleaner

Perfect Secretary's pitch for @Adbroad (and the Youtube API)

The Emotions of Text

The Shorty Awards Scandal -- Manual Spam is still Spam

Google Analytics, the cloud and missing numbers #fail

Helen Klein Ross & Michael Bissell Interview at Adweek's Social Media Strategies Conference

The Internet is the New 60's

Cougars from New Zealand (and I don't mean big cats)

Adding facts together, or why you can't charge your cell phone from wifi

Social Media and the Destruction of the World

Rabid Fans vs Passive Viewers -- The Coco vs Leno saga

How to tell someone to retweet (without using up your 140 characters)

You can't buy social media

A book unopened is but a block of paper

Building the LOST: The Final Season Sweepstakes

Holiday SPAM (or the lack thereof)

Archiving Twitter

Too Many Toolbars

Random Censorship with Google Adwords

Accessibility and Shopping Online

Twisted path to customer service

Flash: Shiny objects blinding your audience

Twollow and other gold rush scripts

GPS in a Laptop computer

Thinking outside the box... There was a box?

Twitter was designed for Text Messaging

It's not the corporations, damnit

Entrepreneur or Dreamer?

Adweek Social Media Twitter for Brands Presentation

Socializing is more than Social Media

Generational Marketing is a Myth (or Who's your Daddy?)

Social Media is Just the Way We Use the Internet

Twitter Followers Don't Matter (ask the porn sites)

The Internet is Gooder than Books

Sometimes you don't want your campaign to go viral

Best Twitter Branding Campaign

Like flies to crap, Spammy Twitter Followers don't really go away

iPhone SMS Security Hole

How Flipmytweet works

Cell Phones as Microscopes

Digg is not the Hijacker -- You Are

Steve Ballmer -- the walking dead?

Twitter as an open mic poetry reading

Automatic Social [un]Awareness

New York, New York

First splash for United Against Malaria

New Media/Old Media and the CLIO Awards

Interview at SXSW: Mad Men Twitter And Tracking

We've got an App for that -- it's called the Web

Understanding Google To Get Your Resume Noticed

Made it to SXSW in Austin

The trouble with Wordpress and other templates

Wayward Words with Baggage

Speaking at SXSW March 17th

The fleeting Memory of the Internet

It's okay to say 'I don't know'

Good Morning America, now Go Fight Traffic

More surreality in Portland

Nike Takes Over Conquent

Facebook owns this title

Excuses, excuses

A little on Social Media

Feeding on Content

Attack of the Bots

Irish Music in Oregon City

Landing on an Aircraft Carrier

Got Curry? And some bizarre art?

Web 1.0

Random Music and Random Life in Portland

To the dump, to the dump, to the dump dump dump

Flight Simulator

Cold night, hot fire, happy cat

Net Neutrality

Walking to work in the snow

A window into Moreland of the Past

Getting clever with data feeds

Big and Little Beirut

The Other Credit Crisis

The Broadband Inauguration

T-Mobile owns Magenta and Other Patent Stories

The Risk-takers, Doers and Makers of Things

The noise of 20,000+ Twitter Followers

Reflections on my DC Trip

Born Again American

30,000 feet, 500 MPH Suburban Strip Mall

Cellphones, toilets and the Inauguration

The wall of pissing

National Treasure/National Archives

My trip to DC so far

Everyone is insane

Getting ready for DC

The End of Days (of song): Microsoft Songsmith Example

The Very Model of a Modern Major General

Browser Bigotry

The Death of your Soul: Microsoft Songsmith

Creative Development or Developing Creatively?

Race to Witch Mountain

The Myth of Wikipedia (or the Wiki-1400)

Online/Offline Sales -- is it really that bad?

Is PayPal Tacky?

Old School Web Design Still Works

Domain Squatting

Christmas Fire

Green Chri$tma$

QA 101

Portland Snow

Get some return on that web traffic

I think they have a backup...

I'd love to have that problem

The [un]importance of statistics

Don't be a tool of viral marketing

CAT Scan!

Follow up to the shoulder injury

Emails, discussions, blogs, wiki and web content

Ironic Injury

On the Santa Monica Pier

You Designed for Print First

You let someone else register your domain name

You figured .biz, .info, .us would work fine

What's after the Integrated Circuit?

Intelligent life is out there (but it's bugger all down here on earth)

Subject Matter Experts Talking Other Subject Matter

The Totalitarian Regime of Apple

Oversimplifying how people work


Creative Services for the New World

Reverse Anthropomorphism

The End of Time

Oil prices and birdsong

Watching Starship Troopers AGAIN!

Better Living Through Twitter

Lessons Learned From Apple

It's the Brand, Baby

Business Architecture vs. Web Construction

On Truth

You can't build life

Accidentally Drunk in Portland

Al Gore the Winner

Intelligent life is out there (but its bugger all down here on earth)

Aussie Rules Football

Trip to Nostalgia Land

I am such an idiot

Long day of travel

Miami -- as far from Portland as you can go in the US

Inverse Peter Principle

Random Knowledge

I'm fascinated with modern plumbing

Leaving Seattle (or why you should keep your ticket close)

On the Rails

The Hive

RSS for this blog
Browser Bigotry
2009-01-09 10:04:37

My usual routine in the morning is to get up, check my email, delete my spam, take a shower, read the news online, and check on some web stats. This morning I followed a link to tweatweather.com on the old box at home, and it immediately redirected me to the Firefox download page.

Now, my first thought was that something had gone wrong with the reporting software I was using. There was no explanation, I was just on the Firefox page. My second thought was that they had done something almost clever -- build up traffic then force all traffic to a revenue share deal to make a couple bucks.

But, no, it was just that they didn't code for Internet Explorer 6. They didn't bother telling me that I needed a new browser for their site by giving me an alert or a pop-up page, instead they just forced me to use their browser.

W3C stats shows IE6 still at 19.6% of the market as of December 2008 (just last month). If we assume there are 1.5 billion people online, that means they are ignoring 294 million people. Granted, they aren't all going to be interested in what people are saying on Twitter about the weather, but, talk about limiting your audience right out the gate -- 20% BAM, gone.

It's like saying, "No darkies allowed at the bar." And forcing me away without explanation is just that, shoving me off into a corner.

There are legitimate reasons people may have older browsers, including they aren't allowed to install anything else but more importantly, personal choice. If I choose one browser over another, and certain functions don't work, then that's my call.

Your website should work for any major browser. That's the beauty of the web, I don't have to install anything; I just open a browser, click on links, and see the stuff I want to see. Sure, you might have to install plug-ins like Flash, but it's already installed in over 90% of the browsers, so writing for Flash is pretty safe.

I understand not liking the mess the browser manufacturers have made of CSS and JavaScript, but if you're a coder, learn to code within the limitations of the environment. We push a lot of functions onto the server, and we use HTML that may be "deprecated" by W3C standards, but works on all the major browsers.

It's a matter of respecting other people and the choices they make, or are forced into for reasons beyond their, and your, control. Anytime you insist they do something that's not part of the core goals of your website, is a time that you're forcing them away from you.

aviel: Re: Browser Bigotry
2009-01-09 10:18:34

So I built tweetweather, and believe it or not, I'm a .NET developer.

The fact is, I write code all day that is used by 90% ie6, but when I come home (to my mac) I don't want to boot into windows much less spend hours of my free time testing for ie6 rather than adding more features.

You'll notice that ie7 is support, and you know what, I bet ie6 renders just fine, but I refuse to even spend the time testing it.

Honestly, things like TweetWeather (fun side projects) are often done as acts of love by the developer, there is absolutely no contract with the end-user to support their outrageously inferior browser.

Granted, if TweetWeather was anything but a fun sideproject, I would agree with you 100%.

crunchysue: Re: Browser Bigotry
2009-01-09 10:48:17

Where do you, personally, draw the line for user exclusion? Somewhere between 10% and 20%, I guess, since for you it's OK to exclude the 10% who don't have Flash, but not OK to exclude the 20% who don't have a browser newer than IE6. Lots of people (especially at work) don't have admin rights to their machines, and so can't install/upgrade their browser or Flash.

So I'm wondering what the usage stats will have to be before you reckon it's OK to exclude the IE6 users.

Michael Bissell: Re: Browser Bigotry
2009-01-09 10:51:40

Thanks for the response -- I think the main problem with the instant redirect is the moment of "What the hell just happened?" A simple javascript alert like "This site doesn't support IE6, prepare to be redirected to Firefox..." would help a lot.

Teagan Drumheller: Re: Browser Bigotry
2009-01-09 10:53:34

aviel: Very neat application, I had some fun looking around at the weather in various places. I like the idea.

I just tested the site in IE6 right now, actually, by specifically disabling your IE browser version check in the tweetWeather.js.

As far as I can tell, there are no problems running the site in IE6, or, if there were any, I certainly couldn't notice them. Everything seemed to function right.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not advocating the use of IE6- that antiquated hunk of software should be long dead by now, at LEAST replaced by later versions of IE, and reasonably, replaced by Firefox or Chrome.

But, it is up to the user, after all. Ever see those little labels on the back of electronics that say "This device must accept any interference recieved"? I'd say the same should be true for webpages. If someone decides to use IE6, and it mixes things up a bit... the site may not work, but it should at least be displayed. It's the user's responsibility to get a right web 'viewer'. What if they were using something like Netscape or Konquerer/KMeleon or other such strange browsers? I'd expect IE6 would be more supported than some of those weirder ones, even.

aviel: Re: Browser Bigotry
2009-01-09 11:19:43

Michael @Teagan thanks to both of you. I went ahead and pulled the ie6 redirect code.


Michael Bissell (in reply to crunchysue): Re: Browser Bigotry
2009-01-09 12:34:28

Although I mentioned Flash being okay, I would never recommend doing an entire site in Flash, nor the navigation, nor anything critical to the site. I admit, we have used Flash for graphs at times, but even there I'd rather use some sort of server side image generator than force someone to install Flash.

The goal is to get things to work in as wide a range of browsers as you can. If the site is readable in a text-only browser (like Lynx), then you're golden. Balancing the look and feel with project requirements is tricky at best, and we all have to compromise on standards in the world of commercial development, but the best case is never to leave any browser behind.

landinn: Re: Browser Bigotry
2009-01-09 14:34:52

Interesting thread; I was just following another elsewhere on Flash vs. Silverlight.

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