Analysing thank-you-for-downloading-[browser] pages: Internet Explorer

This post is a part of the enterprise I have set out on—an analysis of how different web browser developers use words and images after you have decided to give their product a try by downloading it.

Internet Explorer logo
Internet Explorer logo

Web browser: Internet Explorer

Version: 10

Internet Explorer is the third web browser in my thank-you-page test. The thing about Internet Explorer is that there is no thank-you page to analyse. There is, however, a get-our-latest-web-browser page from Microsoft. Let’s look at it instead.

1. What is about to happen

Microsoft do not offer any kind of an overview of what is about to happen when you click, or have clicked, on their signature flat-designed button “Get Internet Explorer 10”. The largest font-size on the page belongs to the heading “Fast and fluid for Windows 7”, which makes a point and destroys it. The word “fluid” does not necessarily have a good connotation, to my mind. In combination with “fast”, it has the “unpredictable” and “confused” ring to it.

2. What is required of user

One thing Microsoft do include, nevertheless. The users are informed that by clicking “Download now” (let me tell you, I’ve searched the page to and fro for another instance of the phrase or a thing to click, without any success), they agree to “the Internet Explorer Software license terms | Privacy statement | System requirements”. The three documents are interesting and if you haven’t read them, I encourage you to do so, if only to get acquainted with what you are getting yourself into, when you decide to get Internet Explorer 10 on your machine.

Except for a computer meeting system requirements, the users are not required to do anything. Microsoft must rely wholeheartedly on the ease of installation of their product.

Internet Explorer’s download page in Internet Explorer 9 on Windows 7
Internet Explorer’s download page in Internet Explorer 9 on Windows 7

3. How to get started

Microsoft has a page-wide introduction to Internet Explorer 10 with a hard-to-interpret heading “See what’s next for Internet Explorer”. The link “See it now” leads to Internet Explorer 10 presentation page, where you are led to understand that Microsoft’s browser and latest operating system are forever interwoven.

Back to the download page. Microsoft provide users with superb marketing shmoodle and shambalamba. The new Internet Explorer is “Fast”, “Easy”, and “Safer”. There are links to a page where you can download a different language or version of Internet Explorer 9, to a page where you can explore what’s new and exciting about Internet Explorer 9 and to a page where you can get support for… you guessed it, Internet Explorer 9.

4. Spreading the love

Microsoft provide a way for users to share the download page with their friends on Facebook and followers on Twitter. Moreover, they include the Facebook Like button for page visitors to click on, thus joining the rest of 2.5 million of planet’s inhabitants showing appreciation of the company.

Other observations

There is an option for users to choose to set Bing as a default search engine before they download the browser. This is how I interpret “I would also like Bing and MSN defaults” anyway. What an MSN default is, I have no clue.

Conclusion

My suggestion to Microsoft is to get the purpose of the page straight and get rid of all the noise and bloat. I am left confused, when I think about who the target audience is. I would be surprised if Microsoft knew the answer themselves.

Next up: Safari. Don’t miss it, follow me on Twitter for updates.

Analysing thank-you-for-downloading-[browser] pages: Mozilla Firefox

This post is a part of the enterprise I have set out on—an analysis of how different web browser developers use words and images after you have decided to give their product a try by downloading it.

Mozilla Firefox logo
Mozilla Firefox logo

Web browser: Mozilla Firefox

Mozilla Firefox is the second web browser whose thank-you page I tested. It is simple and reminds of Google Chrome’s thank-you page with a big headline and three images. The gratitude is expressed by “Thank you for downloading Firefox!”, which is part of a line of text just below the headline that says, “Different by design” attracting more attention than the thank-you phrase itself.

1. What is about to happen

Just as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox utilises visual means to simplify the description of the process of downloading and installing their product. The three steps are not labelled, but rather there are several-line-long descriptions under the images of what happens when a user has clicked the download button.

Mozilla Firefox’s thank-you page in Safari on OS X
Mozilla Firefox’s thank-you page in Safari on OS X

In the case of Firefox, just like with Chrome, the three images illustrating the three steps match the operating system that you use at the moment. However, the first image sports a downloads window… of Mozilla Firefox. I do not know how often you browse your way to Firefox’s thank-you page using Firefox. The browser version that is being downloaded in the illustration is 12 versions older than the present one. Which shows when the thank-you page was updated last.

2. What is required of user

Mozilla Firefox recognise that the process of installing a program on Windows is more complicated than that on OS X, for example. They ask the user to clicking Run in the Internet Explorer dialog bar. In the next step, they ask you to launch the Mozilla Firefox setup wizard and follow the instructions (with a disclaimer that the process is made as painless as possible).

Mozilla Firefox’s thank-you page in Internet Explorer on Windows 7
Mozilla Firefox’s thank-you page in Internet Explorer on Windows 7

On OS X, Mozilla do not just encourage users to drag the icon of the newly installed web browser into Dock or, like Chrome, right-click it and select ‘Keep in Dock’. They make it part of installation procedure instead.

Firefox make it easy for the user to force download, should it not begin automatically. However, the link is less prominent than on Chrome’s thank-you page (the link text is “click here”) and is a constituent of the first step.

3. How to get started

Firefox do not provide a loud reference to a tutorial on how users are to get started with the new browser. There is, nevertheless, a helpful list of links (Tour among them) which lead users to resources that are meant to enhance their browsing experience with Firefox. The list includes links to Support pages as well as Mozilla’s rather new mobile browser.

4. Spreading the love

On their thank-you page, Mozilla Firefox do not in any way let their new users share what they’ve just accomplished.

Other observations

Mozilla appear to focus on the interaction between the browser and the user on a much deeper level than Chrome, at least according to their thank-you page. By careful choice of words and images, they show that users’ experience with their browser starts of by comparison. It is one of several browsers on their machine, and if they give it a try, they will find it superior to the others. Far-fetched as this interpretation might be, here’s what I find supporting this idea: the Dock in OS X sporting shiny new Firefox icon has also Safari on it.

Mozilla come across as more agressive concerning competition on the browser battlefield than Chrome. They focus on contrast: “Different by design”, “You’re going to love the difference”, “[Download] could take a few minutes, but it’s worth the wait”, “[C]lick on Firefox whenever you want to use the web!”

The differences between how Firefox’s thank-you page is shown on different operating systems are only slight. Besides, they do not interfere with Mozilla’s goal of appearing as “different” (read “superior”).

Conclusion

My suggestion to Mozilla is to continue making a stand for the browser superiority and adding a way to share users’ download activity with their friends.

Next up: Internet Explorer. Don’t miss it, follow me on Twitter for updates.

Analysing thank-you-for-downloading-[browser] pages: Google Chrome

This post is a part of the enterprise I have set out on—an analysis of how different web browser developers use words and images after you have decided to give their product a try by downloading it.

Google Chrome logo
Google Chrome logo

Web browser: Google Chrome

Google Chrome is the first browser I downloaded for the test. Its thank-you page is clean and simple, echoing the overall feel of the website. The gratitude is expressed by “Thank you for installing Chrome”, which is the line of text set in largest font size, bound to attract attention.

1. What is about to happen

Google Chrome’s thank-you page shows three steps of how the process of getting the new web browser on your machine goes down. Quite as expected, the first step is “Download”. The second step is “Install”, and the last one is “Run”. The three steps are illustrated by relevant images of how an operating system handles the download and installation.

Google Chrome’s thank-you page in Safari on OS X
Google Chrome’s thank-you page in Safari on OS X

The screencapture images illustrating the three steps match the operating system that you use at the moment. For example, if you download Google Chrome on Windows (regardless of which browser you use to gain access to the download page), the images show Internet Explorer’s installation dialog window.

2. What is required of user

On Windows 7, the user is not required to do anything beyond what Chrome installer cannot do by itself. The text says, “Once installed, Chrome should start automatically.”

Google Chrome’s thank-you page in Internet Explorer on Windows 7
Google Chrome’s thank-you page in Internet Explorer on Windows 7

On OS X, however, there is instead a line of text that says, “After installing, you can right-click the Chrome icon and select ‘Keep in Dock’ to access Chrome easily.” Though not a requirement, this encouragement is also shown visually in the last image, where Google Chrome icon already sits in Dock between System Preferences icon and Contacts icon.

Chrome make it easy for the user to force download, should it not begin automatically, by including a link to the file just above the three workflow images: “click here to retry”.

3. How to get started

Users seem to be expected to know how to operate a web browser. There are not many clues as to what a browser is and what one should do to get started browsing the web. However, there is a link to Google Chrome’s Help centre: “Have questions? You can find more information in the Chrome Help center.”

4. Spreading the love

On their thank-you page, Google Chrome do not show that they rely on the word of mouth markteing of their product. The only way for you to share the just-downloaded browser is a small +1 button just below what may be considered as a mega footer. That is the button and a humble number of 2.2 million users who already showed their appreciation for the browser.

Other observations

Google Chrome make their mobile browser and integral part of the thank-you page. The section of the page where there are links to Google Chrome for Android devices and iOS devices is just as noticeable as the three step illustrations, though it is located below them. They prompt users to “bring [their] Chrome experience to [their] phone or tablet”.

The differences between how Chrome’s thank-you page is shown on different operating systems are only slight and well-grounded.

Conclusion

My suggestion is to not take users’s web browser experience for granted and provide a better way of showing how to get started with Chrome, in order to get the most of it.

Next up: Mozilla Firefox. Don’t miss it, follow me on Twitter for updates.

Analysing thank-you-for-downloading-[browser] pages: background and criteria

How do browsers thank you for downloading their products? What do they show you right after you pushed that blue/green button? I’ve set out to investigate how world’s five most popular web browsers use text and images after you decided to try them out on your machine.

I have done my fair share of downloading browsers. There are things that I expect the thank-you pages to contain, which is maybe all the more the reason for my establishing a framework for the analysis. So, here are the criteria that I am going to mainly take notice of, when researching Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari and Opera.

1. What is about to happen

Downloading a browser is most probably not something you do very often unless your work entitles you to it, for example. People who do not do it on a regular basis might be unfamiliar with what downloading, and subsequently installing, a browser involves. So, I expect a thank-you page to provide a kind of a step-by-step instruction reciting what is about to happen, in a chronological order.

2. What is required of user

Most people are unfamiliar with the procedure, which means they do not often know what they are expected to do. What actions they are required to accomplish during the download should be a part of the chronological workflow explained above.

3. How to get started

It is likely that people downloading a browser are taking their first steps with it. How to get started with using it is therefore one of the necessary bits of information a thank-you page should include.

4. Spreading the love

There has been a battle (some call it war) among web browsers for usage share. Though not a mandatory ingredient, asking people who download your browser to spread the word, and thereby taking a chance at boosting own popularity, is a highly probable action on the browser developer to take.

There are other criteria thank-you pages might need to meet, in order to qualify for a complete usability analysis. However, I do not claim the analysis to be so thorough or full-toned that it would be exhaustive. Rather, I hope that looking at the five browsers in the light of the aforementioned criteria will lay foundation to build upon, would such inclination or need arise.

Here are the five browser pages that will be tested:

  • Google Chrome (for Mac* and Windows**)
  • Mozilla Firefox (for Mac* and Windows**)
  • Internet Explorer
  • Safari (for Mac*** and Windows***)
  • Opera (for Mac* and Windows**)

______

* — downloaded using Safari

** — downloaded using Internet Explorer

*** — Safari does not have a special download or thank-you page. Both Safari for Mac and Safari for Windows can be downloaded from Apple’s support pages.

Retweet and die, or lose at best

Last week, I wrote about how a relationship is a thing between two persons and not between a person and an organisation. I argued that for a business to succeed in building relationships with their clients, it is essential to be personal.

A business can be more personal by, for example, adjusting the tone of voice in conversations with their customers, addressing them by their first name or even exhibiting human traits and emotions. Now, emotions can be expressed in many different ways. One of the most distinct is by concurring with, endorsing or plain liking things their customers say or do.

Here’s an example. When someone mentions your business or links to your site in a positive tweet, it is easy for you to show your appreciation by retweeting them. Thus, maybe totally unaware or unintentionally, you are striving to expose your business to broader masses to gain popularity. What many forget though is that you retweet others’ updates to your followers. That is to people who already have made a conscious decision and pushed the Follow button on your Twitter profile.

Do not offer your followers to come in and feel themselves at home. They are already at your table. Offer them the food full of marrow and the best of aged refined wines. Ask them how their day has been and if they care for a game of Monopoly. Show your followers that you care about them enough not to retweet someone who praises you.

So, how do you show your gratitude to someone who mentions you in a good light on Twitter? Mark their tweet as favourite instead! Show them that you like what they have to say. Bid them in. Show them around. Invite them to the table. Show them why it’s better here.

By retweeting (to your followers) the good things others have to say about you, you are coming across as craving popularity. (Or are you afraid they might fly away?) At best, it might cost you your followers. By marking the tweet as favourite instead, you show the person who might not yet be among your followers some of the benefits to become one—your personal touch, your understanding of interaction and your willingness to start a relationship.

Feeding the machine

Alongside the glassy buttons and text reflections, one of the characteristic traits of Web 2.0 was user-generated content. Wikipedia, though being the most popular collaborative creation in the world, is no longer “the largest collection of shared knowledge”. The Internet is. And we are feeding the machine.

“But how can I be feeding it by taking photos of my cat and sharing them with my friends?” By and large, the machine is indeed indifferent to your cat as it is to it. I believe, however, that the key is not the individual, but the cumulative, joint aspect of knowledge that may present danger in this context.

Sometimes, I wonder if Eagle Eye or I, Robot or any other similar fictional discourse is becoming the reality. Knowledge is power, but so is the access to shared knowledge if you know how to manage it. Which can become an obsession, and ultimately domination.

I imagine Glass

For a couple of days, I have been imagining what my life would be like, if I had a little piece of glass in front of my right eye. No, a little higher, so as not to obstruct my sight. When I was outside taking a promenade yesterday and when I was looking at the screen of my laptop working earlier this week—I kept thinking about how I would interact with the inanimate wise assistant.

When I pull out my phone to take a photo of my lunch, I imagine holding a fork and knife in my hands and uttering “OK glass, take a picture”. When my food is no longer warm and I am busy tapping around on the broad screen of the smartphone to share the photo with friends, I imagine choosing to share it with people on Google+ instead.

When I smear my hands with paint and have fun painting tigers and flowers with my three-year-old, I imagine saying “OK glass, record a video” without taking my eyes off of her smile. When I have an hour to kill in a city foreign to me, I imagine asking “OK glass, google nearby café”.

Imagine technology were not in the way of our interaction with each other. Imagine communication were something that was no longer bound to hardware. Imagine relevant information were accessible to you anywhere any time.

Imagine also not using a product, but being used as one. Imagine someone making a claim at your data and drawing profit from selling it. Imagine something making use of everyone’s data to manipulate and rule.

Falling down from the sky and sharing the moment instantaneously sounds alluring, but does not necessarily mean it is to my benefit. I imagine.

The world in shock—popular Facebook page on science is run by woman

The world is shocked. Popular Facebook page on science is run by… a woman. On Wednesday afternoon, she revealed her identity, which incited commenters around the world to sexist “compliments”. Here is what’s happened.

Elise Andrew is the founder of several Facebook pages on science, the most popular of which is I f*cking love science, with over 4 million likers. When she posted about her decision to explore other social media and added the link to her Twitter account, she received many comments as to her looks, not performance. Several hours later, she wrote another post saying she was “absolutely astonished by an onslaught of comments expressing their […] shock” that the page was run by a woman.

Now, I admit that the news surprised me. I associated a Facebook page on science, containing strong language and humour as run by a man or at least a group of people. According to the comments to both posts, so did most of the other followers of the page. And even though my surprise was nothing else than an oh-okay-who-would-have-thought kind of surprise, I am curious about why this type of news catches us off guard.

We construct stereotypes long before we encounter an issue. This may be one of the reasons that many people have been surprised or even shocked by learning that the Facebook page in question was run by a woman. Ever since childhood, we have been learning things about the world we live in. We create a focal point which we use as a reference to juxtapose with reality. Sometimes, we get it challenged, which may result in the necessity of editing it.

Both men and women, we are human. At our core, we are all the same. Nevertheless, we are very different, too, not least physiologically. Through the course of history, there have always been a distinction between things more typical of men and things more typical of women to busy oneself with. Films portraying women disguised as men are for some reason a lot more in number than those depicting men as women.

So, what could have sparked the stereotypes we have constructed to catch fire and flare into the sexist comments directed at Elise Andrew? Arguably, it was the combination of the characteristics typical of men (swearing, science and humour) that are present in the style she maintains on her Facebook page.

Digital media has brought us closer, which also means we have become more exposed, more vulnerable. I believe that unless we learn to see past the surface of triviality, prejudice and conventions, we will all remain disgusting sexist pigs.

P.S. Read Dean Burnett’s hilarious Women in science: know your limits!

Update: Elise Andrews is interviewed by CBS, check it out.

The glass is half full

Blogging, as a means of content creation, is magical. A little over seven years ago, late 2005, I set out on the journey of writing what came to be rather sporadic blog posts. The #blogg100 initiative has been the stimulation I needed to pursue sharing my thoughts in this format. Though I am still looking for my niche, I am pretty happy with how it is turning out.

Here’s to another 50 days of experimenting!

Moving to WordPress

I’ve finally installed WordPress on my domain. During the next couple of weeks, I will be consolidating all other blogs I have around the Internetz into one.

Background. A little over three years ago, when I first bought celareartem.com, my idea was to experiment with “art directing” of blog posts and writing. I then managed to write three articles. Now that I’m on the #blogg100 challenge train, I have resolved to taking writing and blogging more seriously. And what easier way is there to blog than using WordPress as a CMS?

I admit that I’ve been into hand coding both my markup and styles ever since I discovered the power of View Source. I’ve felt that content management systems were too limiting and unpredictable. With a tight schedule at work and other priorities at home, I’ve decided I should keep my focus on producing content in a fast and simple way.

What are your best tips on managing a blog with WordPress? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. You can also contact me on Twitter @clartem.