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  1. #1
    KaighNyne's Avatar KaighNyne is offline Ignorance is bliss said the snowman to the sun...

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    Default Microsoft Proposes Browser Ballot -- Mozilla Dev. Bitches

    G'day, y'all!

    Under pressure from the European Union, Microsoft is testing a possible future implementation of a system used for picking the initial installed web browser on Windows boxes. Now, as good Mac users, I'm certain there's initial temptation to say "Why should I give a flying dog's bollocks about this?" but I'm just discussing this because I'd heard about it, did some poking around, and thought it would be worth at least a bit of reaction from the Mac crowd here.

    Anyhow, here's a screenshot of what's proposed by Microsoft.



    Now, to be fair, Microsoft has listed the browsers alphabetically by manufacturer (in this case, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Mozilla, Opera). However -- and the whole point of this thread is that -- they are now taking flak from one of Firefox's developers, Jenny Boriss, who on her blog has complained about the arrangement because of it being now biased towards Apple. She says in part:

    Quote Originally Posted by Jenny Boriss
    This ordering is about the worst option possible, both for user choice and the web as a whole. Microsoft wrote in their proposal that “nothing in the design and implementation of the Ballot Screen and the presentation of competing web browsers will express a bias for a Microsoft web browser or any other web browser,” but this is exactly what the current design does. Windows users presented with the current design will tend to make only two choices: IE because they are familiar with it, or Safari because it is the first item.

    Users selecting the IE logo because it is the image they associate with using the internet isn’t too surprising. After all, many users do not know or care that other browser are available. But the disproportionate advantage to Safari is what really makes this design poor.

    The problem is that for the user, screens such as this one are a roadblock to the task they they actually want to perform (in this case, using the internet). And, as Asa notes, the most common user behavior when confronted by a roadblock is to take the action they believe will most effectively remove it. Because of this, in user experience design it’s standard practice to present two paths through a setup: a well-marked “express” path of giant buttons and recommended options presented first in lists, and the “advanced” path for users interested in tailoring their configuration. This allows users who do not want to configure options to quickly get the setup that is designed for most people. By presenting Safari as the first item in a list, this ballot implies that it is the item recommended to most users.
    So, my question to you folks is simply this: What is your own opinion about Ms. Boriss' comments, and what do you think of Microsoft's ballot proposal?

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by KaighNyne View Post
    So, my question to you folks is simply this: What is your own opinion about Ms. Boriss' comments,
    She just wants them to be listed in alphabetical order by name of browser so that Firefox is first.

  3. #3

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    What a whiner. Her issue isn't with the layout, it's simply that her browser isn't listed first. Of course she has to try to reframe the debate as being about "user choice", but really her argument is "users are stupid".

    Can't wait to see FSJ and the Angry Drunk go off on this one.

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    She is a whiner to the nth degree . There is nothing wrong with the user interface as all the browsers are presented logically with good desciptions and more info readilly availible . Obviously that time of the month for her .
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    Quote Originally Posted by Goodbye View Post
    She just wants them to be listed in alphabetical order by name of browser so that Firefox is first.
    Well, except that Firefox would still come second to Chrome in that arrangement

    By presenting Safari as the first item in a list, this ballot implies that it is the item recommended to most users.
    It's a whinge, pure and simple. If they were arranged with Firefox at the start of this list we wouldn't have heard a peep out of her, and we would've gotten the same whinge if it were anywhere else besides first.

    Quick, somebody arrange them in a big, constantly rotating circle!
    I accidentally the whole thing.

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    I think alphabetical order by company is perfectly fine... and a good move by Microsoft. It's reasonably fair. All of her suggestions place Firefox firmly at the top of the list - how that is fair, I'm really not sure at all.

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    What an idiot. Even if the "ballot" had Firefox as first, no doubt she'd bitch that it was being presented inside IE itself with the title bar saying "Web browser ballot - Microsoft Internet Explorer" unfairly biasing IE. Or that IE was in the middle, which tends to be a focus point. Or …

    All it shows that Mozilla cares as much about user choice as Microsoft does.

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    I wonder if the selection of the order was because IE was in the middle

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by bacco007 View Post
    I wonder if the selection of the order was because IE was in the middle
    +1

    So - is this being forced upon PC users in that Euro place? What about non Microsoft OS's? IE Mac OS.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmichobo View Post
    +1

    So - is this being forced upon PC users in that Euro place? What about non Microsoft OS's? IE Mac OS.
    I don't see it as forcing anything. Judging by that you can have any or all those browsers, its simply making the choice of default easier and more accessible. It surprises me that they have backed off from forcing IE on their users.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bacco007 View Post
    I wonder if the selection of the order was because IE was in the middle
    There is a slider at the bottom of that window, perhaps not.

  12. #12

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    I don't really have ANY issue with Microsoft installing IE by default and not giving users a choice like this. If they want to install a new browser, they can.

    Does this mean *all* web browsers need to be listed? What about the smaller ones that people haven't heard of? For example, I'm working on a WebKit based browser called Aaareallygoodbrowser (company name is Aardvark). Shouldn't I be allowed to list that?

    I really hope this doesn't flow over to OS X.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmichobo View Post
    +1

    So - is this being forced upon PC users in that Euro place? What about non Microsoft OS's? IE Mac OS.
    It's part of that massive antitrust thing between the EU and Microsoft. This is MS's alternative to the first option, which was to not provide any browser at all and expect users to download one themselves via FTP.

    It has nothing to do with other operating systems, only Windows.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by half goon half god View Post
    It has nothing to do with other operating systems, only Windows.
    ...for now. Won't this set a legal precedent? Who chooses which browsers are in the list?

    From the comments:
    On a side note: given this balloting system, I’d sort the browsers in order of ACID-test compliance score.
    We have a winner! Sounds good to me!
    Last edited by marc; 18th October 2009 at 01:00 PM.

  15. #15
    KaighNyne's Avatar KaighNyne is offline Ignorance is bliss said the snowman to the sun...

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    Some of the people who've responded on her blog, it would seem, have had some rather sharp comments for her. Ooooh...

    So we're not the only ones who have issues with her attitude. I think that's a good and healthy thing.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by half goon half god View Post
    not provide any browser at all and expect users to download one themselves via FTP.
    Worked for me in 1995...

    If this change is enforced, I see no reason that Apple should not also be forced to do similar. At very least, to move the browser (and for that sake, mail) preferences OUT of their own proprietory software...

    (Or have they done that now with newer versions of Safari and Mail?)
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    Quote Originally Posted by marc View Post
    From the comments:

    On a side note: given this balloting system, I’d sort the browsers in order of ACID-test compliance score.

    We have a winner! Sounds good to me!
    Almost everyone gets 100/100 now, so apart from putting IE last you'd be back at square one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ~Coxy View Post
    Almost everyone gets 100/100 now, so apart from putting IE last you'd be back at square one.
    Currently only 2 browsers score 100/100 - Safari and Chrome (but Chrome fails the link test, so it's still considered a fail). Most browsers do get in the 90s though. Full list of all browsers, mobile and desktop, with their Acid3 scores are at - Acid3 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by ~Coxy View Post
    Almost everyone gets 100/100 now, so apart from putting IE last you'd be back at square one.
    If you're talking about ACID 2, that's true. If you're talking about ACID 3, then not true.

    Acid3 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    The rankings could be redone for ACID 4, 5 and so on. My comment was very tongue in cheek though. I don't expect Microsoft or the EU to rank according to ACID tests.
    Last edited by marc; 19th October 2009 at 12:19 PM.

  20. #20

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    You know I have never really gotten into the whole EU complaint since IE became (somewhat) removeable and you could default your browser/mail to something else. As far as I'm concerned this sort of screen (even better if Windows ships with the *current* (at the time) installer for each, preferably along with an option to check for a newer version too.

    I like the idea of a random rotation of the options...
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