Too Cool For IE or too Stupid? Get Over It.

I was approving tutorials this afternoon and I came across one of those “Too Cool for IE” sites that are cropping up all over the internet, and it just pushed me over the edge and I had to write this article… granted this is more of a rant.

Have people completely lost their minds? Or perhaps some webmasters are getting way too pompous? Personally, I suspect stupidity or perhaps plain ignorance and laziness. Now, before you “Too Cool” people start throwing up your shields, let’s see if you fall under my wrath of blind judgment.

Let’s start from the top! For those of you that have no idea what I am talking about, there is a relatively new movement among the Internet Explorer bashers (The reasons WHY they hate IE are not part of this debate, so spare me) where they are branding their websites “Too Cool for IE”. Here are the folks that started it all:

Now don’t get me wrong here folks… there’s nothing wrong with promoting your favorite browsers on your website or letting the world know how you feel about Firefox, Opera, Internet Explorer etc. You have every right to do it. But the practice of FORCING people to download a particular browser to view your website is nothing short of asinine. Let me make this perfectly clear: If you are a webmaster, you are selling services or information (whether you charge or not is irrelevant). The people that view your website are your clients. Who are you to tell your clients how and when to view your site!? It is YOUR job as a webmaster to ensure that your clients can view your website in whatever browser they use in today’s current and common offerings. Especially considering IE still has over 70% browser market share.

Imagine a world where car dealerships dictate to you how to get to the dealer to pick up your car, or McDonalds tells you how to eat their food. Just what I need… a clown over my shoulder telling me how to eat my Big Mac. Have you ever been to a shop that only accepts cash and has no way to process debit or credit cards? I don’t know about you, but I will walk out of that shop and never come back. The excuse of debit “fees” is called the price of doing business. If you design websites, cross-browser compatibility is YOUR “price of doing business”.

Now, I know that’s intent of this program is to help promote alternatives to Internet Explorer, which I am totally cool with. Unfortunately there is a wave of webmasters bastardizing the campaign and popping this “Too Cool” logo into their sites because they’re either too lazy or have no idea how to code for cross-browser compatibility. If this is the case, you should NOT be designing and releasing websites. PERIOD. This morning I found a site so poorly coded, that the infamous “Too Cool for IE” banner wasn’t even displaying properly! Are you not embarrassed?! Promoting your favorite browser or bashing a competitor’s browser is no excuse for ignorance and I like, many others, will simply move on to another site and never come back. Cry about the lack of support for CSS in IE all you like, there’s still a way to code your stylesheet so that your site renders properly. Don’t know how? LEARN! Unless of course you don’t want traffic and have no clue how to value customers.

For those of you running the “Too Cool for IE” banner to promote alternatives, but still have a properly coded website with cross-browser compatibility, GREAT JOB! It’s a shame that your example doesn’t reach further. For those of you running the banner because you’re too ignorant or lazy to code a website properly and are forcing clients to change browsers, you should be ashamed. Same for those that are the rampant bashers of IE that simply do it on purpose. Good luck running a business by treating customers that way. You provide a service and visitors are your customers. If you make a service unattainable, your service is useless and you’ve wasted your client’s time and yours. As a webmaster, it is your responsibility to know the basic principals of web design and the business/customer relationship. Good luck succeeding if you do anything less.

And for those of you that are IE junkies and you’re snickering behind your sleeves at this rant, there are “IE only sites” out there that more or less do the exact thing. IE users are plumetting, so you’re just as naive and irresponsible if you think that designing by checking your site in IE only or putting up “IE required” is acceptable.

Now, if you’ll excuse me I’m off to eat my Big Mac. If you see the dude with red hair, tell him to bugger off.. I always eat my fries last.

Dan Richard

3 thoughts on “Too Cool For IE or too Stupid? Get Over It.

  1. I fully agree. It is the *practice* of refusing people access which is fundamentally counter to the very idea of the Web, not that IE-only webmasters have done this for a decade.

    Seeing this again only shows that people haven’t learned a bit, as well as that the webmasters can’t have much respect for their users.

    I am not against using techniques not supported by all browsers, though except for the bad ones you can always tweak them such that all browsers perform to the best of their ability (the good techniques do that automatically with no extra toil for the webmasters). In particular technology sites will need to show off the technology. It would not make sense for an SVG site not to show SVG images just because there are browsers not supporting it (SVG also allows non-SVG fallback, as it should).

    But there is absolutely no excuse whatsoever for the “Your browser is stupid, nyah-nyah-nyah!” redirects. If people want to use IE, or Opera, or Firefox, or Konqueror, or iCab that is their choice (and sometimes they don’t have one), not yours.

  2. Thanks for your comments Jonny, and you definitely see the point I am trying to make. It’s a shame I lost all the comments when i posted this a couple of months ago in my old blog. About 30 great comments and no flame war… I was really impressed.

  3. I have one of those “Too Cool” images on my site, but I’m not one of those people that code the thing to break IE. I like my code to be as clean as possible, I do most of it by hand anyways. After reading your comments though I’m thinking of maybe taking it off of my site because of people that put it up and cause problems for anyone using IE on their site; I don’t want to be grouped with that crowd. It appears as though the TCfIE website has been taken down saying it was a joke in the first place.

Leave a Reply