Published: 21st June 2012
So kogan.com has
introduced the world's first browser "tax",
on customers who use IE7,
as compensation for the
amount of work and effort involved in
making our website look normal on IE7.
Apparently they've received a lot of praise for this, and a quick Twitter search reveals mostly positive comments.
Well let me add my voice to those who think this is absolutely appalling. It's a stupid and callous idea, and I can only desperately hope it doesn't set a predecent.
So what's next — a tax on screenreaders perhaps, for the extra time and effort involved in making sites accessible to them? Perhaps a tax on people who don't have Flash installed, because it's such a pain in the arse to sniff for that and design fallback behavior!
What about people on slow-to-update corporate network machines, who have no choice over which browser they use. Will kogan perhaps offer a rebate scheme for approved appeals?
What makes a "normal" site?
The real problem here is not the effort it takes to support IE7. The real problem here is false expectations.
Kogan's chief executive, Ruslan Kogan, complains about being
constantly on the line to my web team. Now I don't know
exactly what he was on the line about, I can only
infer that he means,
to ask them why the site doesn't look the
same in IE7.
And there's the failure of expectation — the site doesn't have to look the same in IE7.
The best websites are not ones that look the same across a wide range of desktop browsers, they're the ones that function the same irrespective of which device was used to access them. And if his development team have any professional experience at all, they'll know that it's no harder to provide base-line functionality to IE7 than to any other browser, even the latest-greatest-build.
So either Mr Kogan's expectations are wrong, or his development team have no idea what they're doing.
Now go to your room!
I wouldn't be so churlish as to hope for the imposition of this tax to end up costing them more in lost business than was ever spent on hacking IE7. But I do hope that plenty of people, like me, speak out against this abomination.
This pitiful, unprofessional decision, that spits in the eye of accessibility and rides roughshod over user choice.