The Web Browser You Are Using Is Incompatible

Recently I have been shopping for printable checks so I can print checks from Quickbooks. I shop at Staples for a lot of my office supplies, it is a quick drive from my house, and usually has good prices, and an easy to use Web site. I was sorely disappointed today when I encountered the following message on their Web site when entering their custom office promotional products:

> The web browser you are using is incompatible
> We are sorry for the inconvenience. Our site currently supports only Internet Explorer version
> 4.0 and 5.0. This is due to the advanced features used in the real-time designer.
> We are working to support Netscape in the very near future. If you do not have Internet
> Explorer, it may be downloaded for free at Microsoft’s website here.
> If you are currently using Internet Explorer version 4.0 or 5.0 and are reading this message,
> there may have been an error. Please inform the webmaster.

I was using Firefox 1.5.

They want me to “upgrade” to Internet Explorer 5.0 because of “advanced features”.

I wonder what programmer was able to sell their manager on this one. Unacceptable.

It was very frustrating. I wanted to order from them, but I couldn’t. I went with a different vendor. I wonder how many million potential customers they are locking out?


I sent the following E-mail to their Webmaster:

> Greetings,
> I was attempting to use your Web site at the following address.
> I was trying to browse into your “computer checks” section and got a “browser not compatible”
> message telling me to “upgrade” to IE 4.0 or 5.0 due to “advanced features”
> IE 5.0 would be a distinct DOWNGRADE from my current browser (firefox 1.5).
> “Advanced features” that don’t work in one of the most advanced browsers out there are not
> “advanced” at all. It speaks to me of shortsighted programming.

They sent the following response, very shortly after I mailed them:

> apologizes for any inconvenience. We hope to have the website accessible
> to other browser options in the future. It is not our intention to stop other browser users from
> accessing the site. Please contact Staples Direct at 1-800-547-7224 ext. 35688 to try to place
> your order.
> Sincerely,
> 877-419-1721

“It is not our intention to stop other browser users from accessing the site”

Then what exactly IS your intention? Locking out users of all but one browser… that is not unintentional! Your intention in programming this app was to only let IE users access it.






7 responses to “The Web Browser You Are Using Is Incompatible”

  1. Shrugged Avatar

    It seemed that up until a few years back a lot of developers completely disregarded anything that was not IE. Since FF became pooular, I’ve come by a lot of programmers charging extra to make sites FF compatible. From my experience, a lot of businesses just choose to save that extra money and exclude the the FF users. It still isn’t as widely spread as it seems, and a lot of users will just turn IE on when a site doesn’t work.

  2. Matt Avatar

    Programmers who charge extra for FF compatibility don’t know what they’re doing. (ouu… that was a bold statement).

  3. Dave Hessler Avatar
    Dave Hessler

    There are now so many junk apps that want to run on firefox that it seems the virgin days are gone.

    IE has made the enablement process so complicated that I give up trying to only let the good guys thru. I gave up on staples, after their tech service guy said lots of people don’t care anymore.

    I was checking for spyware from the big stores, and can’t figure it out anymore.

  4. Patrick Shaw Avatar
    Patrick Shaw

    Hmm – I actually think there is a different culprit here – a poor coder. I can’t think of a single good business reason why Staples would intentionally leave out possible customers – but can think of a LOT of ways in which they ended up with a website that did just that!

  5. Richard Collins Avatar

    I think the current economic downturn has resulted in a lot of really crappy software being thrown onto the market. We never really did see software that was adequately tested, but now it seems everything I try to use gives me headaches. I spend as much time sorting out software glitches, installing upgrades, and fighting off spam and spyware as I do actually accomplishing anything.

    I use Firefox 3.0 (brave, no) and it has been working just fine until today. Now I am admonished that my web browser is incompatible and the very same error message informs me that Firefox is an approved browser. Aak!

    I don’t believe it is a browser issue at all. Instead it is probably some lame feature in ZoneAlarm 8.0 that is not sending the right “agent” information.

    I’m working on it. I am not getting my work done.

  6. Matt Avatar

    Interesting. (still the provider of Staples custom checks) STILL doesn’t work. The site seems to be a lot different, and it still doesn’t work, but I no longer get an error.

    Richard – I hear you, though I’m not sure it has much to do with the SLOWED ECONOMY (there is no downturn… it’s still going up, just not as fast as in the past).

    This has been a problem since the beginning of the Web and seems especially prevalent now. There are lot of people somehow passing themselves off as Web developers that can’t code their way out of a paper bag unless they have a drag-and-drop module to do it for them.

    I blame Microsoft .NET

  7. Richard Collins Avatar

    If it is not a downturn how do you explain the loss of 85,000 jobs last month and the highest unemployment since (way back there somewhere). People are seeing their homes foreclosed, gas and food prices are rising. We may not meet the technical definition of a recession, but consumer confidence is in the pits and people are hurting.

    Could the outsourcing of coding to foreign lands have anything to do with all this?

    Am curious about the Microsoft.Net angle. Can you say more?

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