Internet Explorer Rethinks its Usability

IE7 has some great strengths, but I’ve also written why I believe it’s losing market share and frustrating for the average user to use… specifically the menu system that spans the far left and far right of the application.

I wrote about IE7 and it’s terrible usability a little over a month ago. It appears the IE team has rethought their strategy with the upcoming maintenance release of IE7. The menu bar will now be displayed by default.

Before you think I’m patting myself on the back, you should know that I am happy that IE stepped out of the normal boundaries and tried a new user paradigm. My problem is that I’m not sure they ever fully tested that paradigm before releasing it.

I do think it would be an incredible strategy for the team to introduce the ribbon interface and the ‘Office Button’ functionality that is, IMHO, a fantastic step forward in usability in Office 2007. Not only would it improve the usability of the browser, it would differentiate it from the competition, introduce people to the ribbon interface – perhaps gaining some additional adoption, and it would bring the Microsoft product more in line with the rest of the family.

Of course, I still believe the browser who will stomp the competition first will be the browser that introduces the most ‘out of the box’ user interface components. Without any requirement for a download, if I could program in a datagrid, HTML editor, calendar component, image manipulation… with native custom xhtml tags and styles, I would develop applications for that browser before any other!

What do you think?

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