Talk around the Browser Choice screen

9th March, 2010

In the first week of Microsoft deploying the Browser Choice screen more widely, media across Europe, both technical and consumer, have covered a number of topics related to this milestone. Many journalists wondered which browser vendor will “win” as described by the most downloads through the Browser Choice screen.  Several wondered whether or not the Browser Choice screen will have a significant impact on market share across Europe. At Mozilla, we think it’s the consumers that win simply by the fact they are provided a choice in browsers. What do you think? Will the Browser Choice screen have a significant impact on each company’s market share?

A lot of last week’s discussion centered around the design of the Browser Choice screen itself: A petition filed by a number of browser vendors calls for more visibility for the 7 browsers that are included in the Ballot Choice screen, but only become visible through scrawling to the right.  Opinions varied on the browser vendors being presented in random order on the Ballot Choice screen. Claims spanned from this being done on purpose to being an unintentional side effect of the way the Ballot Choice screen was designed.  Microsoft has since responded by making a change to the random icon order algorithm in the browser choice screen for Europe. Do you think the order of presentation has an influence on the decision a user takes?

Media coverage helped spark the conversation with consumers, and there was plenty of discussion in blog comments and on forums about the relative merits of the Browser Choice screen.   Those in favor, generally indicate they think it’s good people are being given a choice of browser and in the process break Microsoft’s hegemony. Those not in favor, generally indicate they think it’s bad either because they don’t think Microsoft should have to do it in the first place, or, they think that the browser choice will only serve to confuse the average web user, not help them. In fact, there was a lot of discussion as to whether consumers will be confused and dismiss the Browser Choice screen all together, either because they don’t know what it is, or worse they think it is malware.

Throughout the week, Internet Explorer users were sharing on Twitter and in blogs the simple fact that they encountered the Browser Choice screen.

We’re pleased to see the conversation take hold as it furthers awareness among consumers so they can make an informed choice about their Web browser.  Help us keep the conversation going – blog, comment, Tweet and spread the word, and take time to talk to friends and family about the Browser Choice screen.

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