Thursday, July 27, 2006

How your Web site will look in the near future

Earlier today I downloaded the beta version of Internet Explorer 7, the next generation of Web browsers from Microsoft.
And after a just a few minutes of playing around, I can tell you that Version 7 is far superior to earlier versions. And that shouldn't be a surprise. Version 7's primary purpose seems to be duplicating the features and functions that made Mozilla's Firefox browser so superior to IE.

Longtime readers of this blog know that I'm a big fan of Firefox. And it seems that the developers at Microsoft are too. The new IE comes complete with the two most interesting features of Firefox -- tabbed browsing, which lets you look at multiple Web sites in a single window, and built-in RSS capability.

Why should you care? Think about this: as great as Firefox is, and as quickly as it has grown, its market share remains small. But Microsoft's IE is the king of the browser world. It won't always be that way, I'm sure. Things are changing quickly, and new user interfaces are coming. But until that day arrives, IE rules. So sometime in the next few months, IE 7 will become the way readers experience your online products. And you need to know what that will mean.

Download IE 7 today. You can do so here.
Take a look at how your site and the sites of your rivals look. One interesting feature of IE 7 is that the interface is smaller -- allowing users to see more of the Web pages they visit. Your Web designers should be considering what that means for your pages.
Then take a look at the little RSS icon that appears in the upper right hand corner of the browser. If the site you visit has an RSS feed, the icon will light up in orange. If not, the icon remains a dull gray. (Don't have an RSS feed yet? Perhaps that hasn't been a problem so far. But RSS is a superior experience for users. And billions of computer users are about to find that out. So trust me on this -- when IE 7 starts appearing on desktops around the globe, you don't want to be the only publication in your space that users can't access through RSS.)

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2 comments:

  1. Another important issue is to make sure whatever content management systems or other tools folks are using also run in IE7. It's next to impossible to run multiple versions of IE without partioning drives, hand-editing the registry or doing other funky stuff.

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  2. Thanks Danny.
    I hadn't thought of that. You're right. It could get ugly for folks who don't test their tools in version 7.

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