foobar on computers, software and the rest of the world


A time when IE is NOT used by most people? Don't bet against this trend when designing a site

, posted: 3-Feb-2009 09:59

Read Write Web today makes us click on their link with this interesting headline: Soon, Majority of Web Users Will No Longer Use IE. Then when you read it you find that they didn't really mean 'soon' the way we would use that word:

It might take a few more years, or it might happen suddenly...

Ok, slightly opimistic there in the phrasing of the headline, weren't we?

Nevertheless, the article does point out that even at this time the IE share of users seems to be around 2/3 'only'. That's a far cry from the 90% or so that it had just a few years ago. Sure, those kinds of stats always need to be read carefully, but I think the trend is clear: IE is losing market share, other browsers are gaining.

The article also points to the growing netbook and mobile market, which tends to use other browsers by default. The article forgets to mention that IE 8 might reverse the trend a little bit, since supposedly it's a good browser. But will that be enough for people to switch back to IE once they have left it? And 1/3 of all users already is using a different browser today...

I think the message for site designers should be clear: Don't design just for IE anymore. Please? I mean, you should have know that for a long time already, right? But yet, there are sites that I need to use that still require IE. I need to keep a Windows VM around mostly for that reason alone.

And then there is this disturbing trend to use Silverlight for content delivery for some high-profile events. Site designers who bet on Silverlight are betting against 1/3 of all users on the web. Is that necessary? No, I don't think so. There are reasonable alternatives to Silverlight, which are well supported by most browsers out there.

While Silverlight and the push into high-profile events is part of the battle that Microsoft has to wage to protect further decline in IE marketshare, a conscentious site designer should resist that temptation, for the sake of millions of people out there who said good-bye to IE a long time ago, and those who do so on a daily basis.

Edit: Just today, Mauricio published some browser market share numbers here for Geekzone as well as a more consumer oriented site (Trademe). Not surprisingly, for the more technical audience at Geekzone, IE is already down to 46%, while for the less-technical consumer audience at Trademe, it still holds at 72%. Still, the trend is clear: IE is going down, and the "1/3 of people don't use IE" seems to be quite believable.

Other related posts:
Censorship in New Zealand: Wide-spread public brain-wash
Blackout to demonstrate against S92A
Section 92A (three strikes law) is not a New Zealand novelty








Comment by freitasm, on 3-Feb-2009 10:26

Slightly off topic but the RWW headlines are more and more going towards what we see in traditional media - and most of the topics are Digg material from the start.

It is business of course. But I resent the populism and headlines that are not actually related to the topic or do nothing to add to the whole discussion...


Author's note by foobar, on 3-Feb-2009 10:38

@freitasm: Yes, I agree. I was a bit disappointed by such a blatantly sensationalist headline as well.


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New Zealand


  • Who I am: Software developer and consultant.
  • What I do: System level programming, Linux/Unix. C, C++, Java, Python, and a long time ago even Assembler.
  • What I like: I'm a big fan of free and open source software. I'm Windows-free, running Ubuntu on my laptop. To a somewhat lesser degree, I also follow the SaaS industry.
  • Where I have been: Here and there, all over the place.




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