Daily Archives: 17 February 2005

What Web Survey Companies Need to Learn

Every once in awhile Microsoft sends me user surveys. I
received one yesterday. I guess I should clarify that MS
contracts with various outside vendors that do surveys for
MS. But I really have to wonder about a company that creates
a survey web page that can only be answered by using Internet
Explore (as is the case in the one I got).

More and more people are using browsers other than IE (see
, here,
or here)
so if you want to have the maximum probability of getting
good results to a survey you need to code the survey pages
so that it is browser independent. This is not hard to do
given all you have to do is write it to a generally accepted
W3C standard (e.g.,HTML 4.01, in
effect and stable since 1999). Do that, and just
about any browser should be able to do the job.

Write it to use “features” specific to IE, or uses
security holes like javascript, and you lose a growing
percentage of users. While I can understand a company using
the latest whiz bang feature of MS and not caring about
non-IE users or security, it seems to me they are essentially
cutting off their nose to spite their face. In other words,
the only entity being hurt by using IE specific features is
the survey taker and so, what competitive advantage is


Lessons Learned: Nestscape Pioneer Speaks Out

To software companies everywhere:

If you want to do something that’s going to change the
world, build software that people want to use instead of
software that managers want to buy.

From Jamie Zawinski. See the full text here.
WARNING: there is some strong language in his remarks.