What reminded me to come back and complete that last post is a response I wrote in yet another design blog. The thoughts that lead to that reply were obviously inspired by the ideas that have been kicking around in my head for the past month while my last post was locked in draft stasis. I'll go ahead and share those thoughts here as well, slightly more detailed than in my reply to Raymond's entry on hating IE6 (I took the time to do the math).
I was thinking just last night that an appropriate metaphor to explain to non-techies why IE6 sucks would be to compare it to an antique car.
The Model T was not the first car, and Mosiac was not the first browser, but both brought those particular products into the main stream an birthed industries to support them. So we’ll use those are our anchor points for comparison.
The first Model T rolled off the assembly line in 1908. So the automobile as we know it is 100 years old this year. Mosaic was released on April 22, 1993. Today being December 5th, 2008, that makes the modern web browser 15.6226243 years old. IE6 came out August 27, 2001, so it is 7.274739 years old. That means IE6 is 46.5654096% as old as the modern web.
If you were driving a car manufactured in 1963, would you expect to meet modern safety standards? Would you expect to pass modern emissions testing? You couldn’t use a modern gas pump without using an artificial additive to replace the lead that was commonly added to fuels 46 years ago. There’s a reason most people who own antique cars usually drive them only to auto shows or for the occasional pleasure cruise and don’t use them for every day driving. If you drove such a car the typical 1,000 miles or so a month, you would expect to pay much more in maintenance costs than someone driving a newer model.
The primary appeal of an antique car is the cool factor. They offer styles not available in the modern market and you just look cooler behind the wheel of a cherry antique than just about any modern automobile. No one is impressed by your antique browser. So why are you still using it?