An ugly story about the corporate web experience

Ever wonder who the people are who still use IE 7, or Firefox 11? Or who in their right mind is using IE 8 when they could be on Chrome? Do you assume that everyone sees beautiful Typekit and Google Fonts? Are you totally sure that you aren’t serving up your mobile-scaled responsive website to a person using a 20-inch monitor? Heck, how do you even know if anyone is seeing your PNGs and videos? Your social media sharing inputs?

I can tell you who isn’t seeing all this: me at work. And millions (billions?) of employees all over the world whose corporate jobs are such that the open Internet is a security risk, and every download, upgrade and software request is vetted and deployed by an internal IT group.

So what are all those lunchtime web surfers missing when they visit your website? Do you ever think of them? Are they your audience? Forget progressive enhancement for your website—when I'm at work, I’ll take graceful degradation any day because frankly, websites barely offer that.

Here's a sneak peak at what I see on my PC running IE 8 at work, and then how the world looks on my Mac running Chrome. You be the judge. 

Fonts gone bad

What Happy Cog and Delaware Valley College want you to see: 

What I saw at work: 

I'm not joking. I really only saw that much of the screen. The Arial replacement font sure is huge, and yes, it overlays the navigation in an odd way! No emphasis on "Our Programs" either. Is this what the desginer planned for me to see? I surely hope not. 

You call this responsive?

Here's how Smashing Magazine's Fixing a Broken User Experience article looked at home. 

And at work: 

Gak! Smashing is about design and UX and coding, right? I guess us corporate fools don't deserve your love. Though, on the bright side, this is actually an improvement. For a few months I could only get the mobile size of their RWD website on my laptop and my giant monitor. I never wished for a "full site" link with such longing...

You better have a transcription for that video. 

Luckily, TED does. But do you? Ideas worth spreading, indeed! 

You guessed it, the video quality never optimizes. 

What social media?

Now, for fun, a roundup of broken social media:

officeflickrwork.png
slateonfacebook.png
Screen Shot 2012-12-19 at 9.51.52 PM.png

I'll give you a hint as to how this ends. Nothing loads. And yet, I miss nothing!  

So what's my point? 

Funny you should ask.

Old screens don't suddenly get massive resolution upgrades. Crappy browsers don't die....possibly because some company's suite of web apps don't run reliably on anything but that old miserable browser. I'm actually happy to have IE 8....because I had IE 7 until September 2012. I'm not even supposed to use the ancient Firefox 11 on my laptop for browsing (but goodness knows what else I'd do with it). And plenty of people are being blocked from social media and multimedia every day at work and school. It's the way of the non-agency, non-web start-up, "uncool" places to work.

I implore you: design and code with us uncool kids in the back of your mind---because the web doesn't look like you think it does. It's uglier.