Safari 4 – A Lesson In How Not To Launch New Software

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Safari 4 – A Lesson In How Not To Launch New Software

Testing to make sure websites work across different browsers is part of the job of making websites. A whole plethora of tiny bits and pieces work different in FireFox than they do in Internet Explorer. In a bid to test a website thoroughly, it’s important to review every website you work on in all the major browsers. This includes Safari.

My laptop is neither fast nor slow. It’s decidedly average. The only things that’s are truly superb on it are the 17″ screen and the full sized keyboard with keypad. Apart from that, it’s just plain OK.

I look at a lot of websites. I rely on the tools I use to get me the websites I want to see as quickly as possible. Therefore I want my browser to:

  • Be quick.
  • Have useful tools.
  • Be quick.

That’s it. I certainly don’t want my browser to:

  • Entertain.
  • Excite.
  • Give me an “experience”.
  • Do anything else beginning with E.

Safari. A case study in how to give your consumer something they don’t want. My experience went something like this:

  1. I open Safari 4 for the first time.
  2. I wait
  3. I wait a bit longer (by now I am very impatient, although it has probably only been 10 seconds).
  4. The main window loads, but something isn’t right. My computer fans start racing as my CPU goes into over-drive.
  5. After about 20 seconds (nails are being bit, hair is being pulled), I get an animated splash screen “welcoming me”. I resist the urge to curse.
  6. My screen freezes. I get the “fatal error” message.
  7. I stop resisting the urge.
  8. I hit the “Don’t Send” button and wait.
  9. I’m still waiting, and yet my fan is still (as i write this) going haywire, and my CPU is still going at 100%. My computer is effectively locked-up.
  10. I have to open the Task Manager, go to Processes, and manually end “Safari.exe”. For the non-tech savvy person, the only fix would be to restart the computer.

I am not happy. But alas. Once I’ve made myself a cup of tea, and uttered a prayer to the gods of the interweb, I will try again. I will try again, because I have to. Most people don’t have the need I do. Most people would give up, and never try it again (I envy them).

There is no excuse for an experience this bad. Not from Apple, one of the big players. Look at your website and ask yourself, are there elements to the interaction that are driving people away? Forms, logins, registration – these are some of the major pitfalls of some sites. Get feedback from colleagues, employees, friends, relatives – ask them to buy something from your online store, or find a certain bit of information. Do this testing, and do it now. No-one is immune to making terrible mistakes and creating a horrible user experience.

Apple have proven that particularly well with Safari 4.

By | 2017-10-24T10:58:39+00:00 May 7th, 2009|Design, Usability|0 Comments

About the Author:

Ben Kelly is So Motion's Managing Director. He has 16 years experience providing internet marketing solutions to businesses. He is married, has a daughter and a pet spaniel and enjoys long walks in the woods near home in the Ashdown Forest.

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