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   Re: Alternatives to the W3C

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  • From: Tyler Baker <tyler@infinet.com>
  • To: Ann Navarro <ann@webgeek.com>
  • Date: Thu, 20 Jan 2000 14:07:00 -0500

Ann Navarro wrote:

> At 10:56 PM 1/19/00 -0500, Tyler Baker wrote:
> >The idea of new types of user interfaces being "too" complicated is often a
> >case of people
> >not having enough faith in people to learn new things.
> No one's arguing that such menus are "too complicated". But when over half
> the installed software base doesn't support them, that's generally a poor
> design decision.

Just because a survey says that a certain percentage of people still use Netscape
2.x browsers or MS IE 2.x browsers does not mean these people are target users of
e-commerce. Many of these people rarely if ever go online and do so only for
email. Your installed software base is not the same as your installed customer

> >P.S. - For the E-Commerce folks, if your users cannot afford to upgrade
> >their 486 to a
> >modern 500 dollar computer so they can run the latest version of Navigator
> >or IE, the
> >chances are they are not gonna spend a lot of money online anyways because
> >the don't even
> >have enough money to upgrade their ancient computer.
> Faulty assumption. Not all users who run something other than IE5 are
> "poor" people who run "ancient" 486 machines.
> They're often corporate users with strict IT policies about what software
> is run -- and it's not the software of YOUR choosing. They're educational
> users and other institutional situations.

These corporate users usually have the most recent web browsers on their machines
if indeed the machines have internet applications to begin with because of the
need to upgrade to fix security loopholes in the previous version.

> They are people like me, who spend tens of thousands of dollars online a
> year, between myself and the two businesses I purchase for, who simply
> prefer a different browser, and won't launch another one just so your nifty
> little menus will work. If you make it hard for me, you simply won't get
> the sale.

Well there are people in this world that are totally set in their ways, but not
everyone is like that. In fact, I would say the majority of people out there
upgrade their web browsers at least once every 6 months. If you prefer to run
ancient applications that cannot even run Java applets, then that is your choice,
but not the choice of the vast majority out there.

> I forget who ran the commercial, but it was about a business interviewing
> to outsource their web presence. Two very young, geeky guys were giving a
> presentation, laughing about how the technology would be obsolete as soon
> as they left the room, but that was ok, because they could come back on a
> new contract. That they'd use <this spiff thing> on the web site, because,
> hey, that's cool. Ah, now I remember, it was FedEx, because the tagline was
> "but you always ship FedEx".

Yah and remember the commercial (I think it was for UUNET) where a bunch of board
room guys ignore the internet and grow old until they croak. The idea is simply
that you "innovate or die".

> Developers who insist that the newest innovation is somehow critical to the
> product or application are alot like those guys -- you don't develop
> applications for clients and for the general public based primarily on what
> entertains YOU or relies on cutting edge software that is used mostly by
> other developers (same in web design, most users don't have 1024x768 or
> higher resolutions on 19 inch monitors -- so an argument of "it looks best
> for ME like this" holds no water).
> Play and innovate on demo-ware, or in arenas where you truly CAN control
> the environment, but doing so elsewhere is self-indulgent at the expense of
> the client/audience.

Most software developers I know add in new features simply to make their products
better an easy to use. This is not "play" but trying new things to make life
easier on the end-user. There is a difference to forcing untested features on
end-users and giving them tested, proven features that accomplish something. If
end-users are never exposed to anything new, then why on earth would anything in
the software world change. This Amish mentality about software might be good for
the needs of the stubborn, but it certainly is not good enough for the vast
majority of end-users who welcome new technology so long as the technology servers
a purpose.


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