What!?! You Don’t Know How to Use a Web Browser?


Confused about how to use a website?

On a daily basis I am just astounded that people don’t know absolute basics about how to use a web browser, download a PDF from a website, use the “Lost your password?” link to reset their password if they forgot it or it didn’t work, and a myriad of other stupid-simple tasks.

While I admit that there are a host of non-intuitive design paradigms out there for websites, basic things are basic: People should know (by now) how to do the items I mentioned above at the very least.

I’ll give you one example from today. I had a client from our website development company (Innov8Press) reach out to me since a user tried her password that was sent to her but it didn’t work. Rather than click the “Lost your password?” link under the login box, she went to the website’s contact form and sent in a note.

So I tried her username and password combination originally sent and they worked. I informed my client to have her use the lost-your-password process since we’d taken great pains to build out one that is incredibly intuitive and nicely designed. I haven’t heard back from anyone yet, but am not holding out hope that we won’t be “helping” this person again. (UPDATE: Client just said this: “She said she tried again and couldn’t get it to work, so she is going to send in a paper registration.“).

pdf-iconIn one of our other businesses we offer PDF reports that people buy. Though we have set up force-downloads on our server, some browsers ignore that and load the PDF inside the browser (e.g., Safari on Mac and Chrome if set up to display PDFs in-browser, which many corporations do for their users).

It turns out that many people simply didn’t know that they couldn’t come back to their account on our site again-and-again to download the report whenever they want to view it. Most importantly they didn’t know to do a “Save as…” in their browser to save the report out to their downloads folder or desktop.

So here’s a question for you: Am I being a cranky old man or should basic, stupid-simple web browsing tasks be something that people should know how to do in 2016?

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  1. Dan on September 8, 2016 at 2:42 pm

    YES and yes

  2. Steve Borsch on September 8, 2016 at 2:51 pm

    Why….thanks Dan! Especially the emphasis on the first YES about being a cranky old man.

    Now get off my lawn, dammit!!

  3. Lonny Gulden on September 9, 2016 at 10:45 am

    I’m with Dan

  4. Steve Borsch on September 9, 2016 at 11:13 am

    Man….I am NOT feelin’ the love from either of you guys. 🙁

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About Steve Borsch

Strategist. Learner. Idea Guy. Salesman. Connector of Dots. Friend. Husband & Dad. CEO. Janitor. More here.

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Podcasting hit the mainstream in July of 2005 when Apple added podcast show support within iTunes. I'd seen this coming so started podcasting in May of 2005 and kept going until August of 2007. Unfortunately was never 'discovered' by national broadcasters, but made a delightfully large number of connections with people all over the world because of these shows. Click here to view the archive of my podcast posts.