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Some guidance on browsers and plug-ins from Guru Nielsen

Posted by Seth Merritt at Aug 01, 2008 08:47 AM CDT
Categories: Content Management, Research, Usability

As a long-time reader of usability expert Jakob Nielsen, I take his guidance seriously.  In a recent email newsletter about technology adoption rates (based on a Salesforce.com User Experience Blog post), Nielsen points out that adoption rates for new browsers seem to have slowed down. His advice on using new versions of plug-ins is clear:

"The guideline to stay at least one version behind on employing any new browser or plug-in technology is even more relevant than it ever was."

Few people heed all of Nielsen's advice, but it is useful to keep it in mind when making design choices.  Unfortunately the email isn't archived online, but an excerpt is below:

-----------------------------------------

[...]

Of IE users, 38% use IE7 and 62% are still using IE6.

Remember that IE7 was released in October 2006: 20 months ago.

Thus, the UPTAKE SPEED is slightly less than 2% per month (in terms of IE users upgrading from the old version to the new one).

Ten years ago, in 1998, I noted that the uptake speed for new browser versions was 1% per week. Thus, users are now twice as conservative as they used to be.

http://www.useit.com/alertbox/980322.html

The guideline to stay at least one version behind on employing any new browser or plug-in technology is even more relevant than it ever was.

-----------------------------------------

This reminds me of the larger point that "you are not your target audience." You may the latest Firefox with all the fixins, but the busy people who support your organization may not.


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