At some time in the distant past my Dad worked for Playboy Casinos and recently he heard that there was going to be some kind of reunion for ex-staff, but not knowing any details he decided to look it up on the internet (where he uses Internet Explorer). The first thing he did was to type ‘Playboy’ into Google. You can imagine the rest of his day, closing popup after popup whilst trying to find the right site. In the end the popups won – they were appearing faster than he could close them so he gave up, turned the computer off and didn’t bother looking again.
Whilst visiting few weeks later, and having heard this story of woe, my little brother decided to try and help. First of all he installed Ad-aware and scanned the computer which removed around 250 ‘suspicious’ items. Then he installed Firefox and helped my dad find the information he was looking for, popup-less. He set Firefox to be the default browser and left my dad to it (a few weeks another relative visited and removed the remaining ~50 items that had hidden themselves).
The problem is that, as non-tech savvy as my dad is, he does actually use internet banking and his bank, Nationwide, don’t support Firefox and so he had to return to IE.
On Nationwide’s “technical requirements” page (oh yes indeed) they say that
Mozilla (up to version 1.6 not including Firefox) is
Functionally supported. Mozilla 1.6? That’s pretty recent isn’t it? According to http://www.mozilla.org/releases/ it came out in Jan ’04, and a month later Firefox was at 0.8, so I can’t possibly imagine why they don’t support Firefox (were there really major differences between the two?).
Whilst he was happy to make the transition to another browser, there’s absolutely no way he’s going to spend his time trying to remember which sites work in which browser, so it’s back to IE he goes, armed with a popup-blocker. Of course, that won’t solve all his problems, and at some point the machine will lock up again due to some IE exploit (they never download the Windows updates because they’re on dial-up) and someone will need to go down and fix it. And all for the want of Firefox support (ahem, mostly :).
A bit of further investigation (although, admittedly, not too deep – I don’t plan on opening a bank account just to find out what’s broken, and my dad lives over 200 miles away) revealed this little gem on Martin’s blog:
The Nationwide online banking site works fine in any browser. In fact, I highly recommend the service. Not only have they continually improved the interface to make it more simple and less graphical (there’s hardly any images), but you can now transfer money between your own accounts instantly (no clearing), pay bills and set up standing orders.
posted by: Frankie Roberto on July 10, 2004 10:21 PM
Could they really be not claiming support for Firefox just for that? It would seem so. Walking my dad through installing a user-agent spoofer over the phone is out of the question, so it’s IE only for him from now on, and a Firefox user lost. Things like this must happen every day, and it’s really tragic that someone who could really be helped by the features of Firefox is denied by the writers of the website.
To be fair to Nationwide, they’ve clearly set out what the requirements are, and do actually provide some support for Gecko browsers (albeit a browser that’s a year old, although that’s nothing in IE-years!), as well as handheld devices (not much luck for Opera though – they support
all versions except 6.01 to 6.04 and 7, so that’s all the good ones then), but with the ever-increasing number of Firefox installations, can they (and other major websites) continue to justify not updating their sites?