Monday, February 22, 2010

Browser Choice Screen slight of hand?

Just reading over Microsoft's "What to Expect" post about the upcoming browser choice ballot. I tried to imagine I was a windows user seeing this for the first time.

Two things about this screen bother me right away. One is that the "Ok" is just a link, not the usual, and obvious call-to-action BUTTON. It's also on the left and I usually look to the right (or center) for things like "OK", "Next", "Continue", or "Agree" type action buttons. I notice that on the next screen (the actual choice screen) "Select Later" is also on the left so maybe it's just my own habits and not a mind-game Microsoft is playing with me.

Second, they 'unpin' IE from your task bar and then the last line of screen 1 is "Before proceeding, please confirm that you are connected to the internet." If I didn't know for sure that I was connected to the internet, I'd probably want to open IE to check. I find this user experience confusing and wonder how much work Microsoft's team did in trying to make it intentionally so. The scenario I picture is my friend's mom Janice. Janice still saves web pages to her desktop instead of bookmarking them so I don't think she's the majority use case here, but I thought of her anyway. I think she would fairly represent a certain group of computer users that are competent at doing daily tasks on their machines but are nervous about making changes to their systems.

I imagine that Janice sees this screen and has no idea about the ballot's history so she takes the time to read the first screen. What? Features? What is a feature for a browser? I connect to the internet with IE, what features do I need? You've unpinned my shortcut to IE? Where do I go to open it now? I need to be connected to the internet? How can I check that? How do I open IE now that you've taken away my shortcut? Janice clicks on the "here" link to find out how to re-pin IE to the taskbar and who knows what happens next (Microsoft's post doesn't show this) but I suspect that browser choice is put aside and this screen will not be run again.

What has Janice learned about browsers, choice, security, compliance, open standards? Nothing. She unfortunately is now maybe more afraid of running a Windows update than before, and life goes on.

Anyway, it's just one scenario that came to mind. I know we're going to see some really interesting stories, comments, and choices being made as this ballot reaches more and more people. I'm looking forward to watching this all go down.

1 comment:

William D said...

One thing I noticed that you mentioned was that you tend to look in the center or at the right.

A few years ago I was studying marketing in my media studdies lesson and the first thing that we were taught was that items to the lower (not bottom but lower) right of the layout are what the user will notice the most (for all those brought up in left to right reading countries).
This is to do with the subconsious reading of a page due to our years of leanring (and then acutally) read(ing).

So this may have been taken into account by Microsoft as a way to give them a slight advantage, OR, it may simply be an inoccent case of poor layout on their behalf, which would not suprise me, just look at their own website