Download Pages — IE vs. Firefox

Here are two different download paradigms presented by Firefox download page and Microsoft Internet Explorer 8 download page

Internet explorer 8 download page

Internet explorer 8 download page

(full size)

Firefox download page

Firefox download page

(full size)

It is interesting to see the difference in prioritation of the actions. Microsoft makes all download actions equally important. Which results in 20 download icons that all fight to drag attention.

Firefox, on the contrary, acknowledges that there can be only one primary action. It makes fair guesses about my operating system and language and presents to me the version i am most likely to want.
However, it is interesting to see that secondary actions are completely downprioritized. I cannot immediately figure out how I select another language.

22 Responses to “Download Pages — IE vs. Firefox”

  1. Jakob Says:

    Erh.. right next to the doves on the FF page, theres a link “Other Systems and Languages”. I’m not saying that the differences on these pages are’nt huge, but I found it quite fast :)

  2. 3 Usability Gurus that Should not be Missed | Avangate Blog - Software Business Blog Says:

    […] JustAddWater Blog article about 2 different download buttons strategies with pros and cons […]

  3. Chris Says:

    Nice lineup ;-)
    The old FF download page had the link for “Other Systems and Languages” inside the green button. That was easier to find but on the other hand only experts do need to download the browser in a different language or OS so it’s OK if it’s not bold.

  4. top movie reviews Says:

    i hate internet explorer theres no other way to say it. firefox safari and opera all display sites fine but even with fully validated html ie displays a site completly different.

  5. Mark Says:

    I think FF is much faster to download. I don’t like all that choice on the selection page. I think we should have choices to choose these within setup, that is far easy to manage.

  6. Bradley Hart Says:

    The only thing I hate more than using internet explorer is being forced to dumb down site designs so they work in internet explorer just so the sheep who use it simply because it was there can access whatever I am working on.

  7. david taylor Says:

    I hate explorer with a passion! I have learned over the years that the best thing to do when writing a site is to make it firefox compatible and then fix the bugs as best you can for IE.

    At least that way you know it will be W3C compliant! IE6 is a real pain but there are so many people still using it.

  8. Mark Says:

    To be fair, you can also do the revert, make a site work in IE first, then fix the bugs so that it can also work in Firefox. To my experience, I found that route is easier :)

  9. Jeff Says:

    It’s funny that you point this out because I have always felt this way about Microsoft’s download screen. They throw tens or hundreds of links at you and expect a normal person to be able to decipher which option is correct. Live update is the worst, unless you take the leap of faith to select all options and let them tell you what you need, you’ll have your choice of 200+ cryptically phrased options. Good luck choosing!

  10. Peter Latterkonsulent Says:

    Yet another reason why firefox is great, One simple message even though they could present tons of different possibilities.

  11. John Says:

    I feel Firefox 3.0 is much faster than each version of IE. I use FF to open this page, it can be loaded immediately. If I use ie, it will take a long term to read the page.

  12. Toppedia Says:

    I highly agree with all here. Firefox is a much better choice for me rather that IE. With all the add-ons that can give us flexibilities.

  13. Lexli Says:

    The IE download page is indicative of Microsoft’s designs in general. The most usable interface they’ve made have been for the Zune and Xbox 360.

  14. Tomelloso Says:

    FF is much faster and better manage of downloads, add-ons give this superior performance.
    May be Chrome in a future?

  15. CouchTurnip Says:

    I’m sorry to disagree with all you fanboys, but how on earth can you blame different websites’ layouts on the browser itself?! So the Firefox application highlights the most appropriate version for your PC’s configuration automatically, does it? Ridiculous! If indeed the page is automatically changing (any Russian users out there to verify this?), then it’s done via site scripting, and the browser application has nothing to do with it. Honestly, you guys should get over yourselves…

  16. Red Widgets Says:

    It’s the same story just choosing an operating system from Microsoft. How many versions of XP and Vista do you really need? IE is a pain to browse with and program for. I’m constantly recommending FF to friends and family.

  17. Scott Roberts Says:

    I dislike IE almost as much as you all and I urge everyone to switch to FF, but I see nothing wrong with Microsoft’s download page. To me, the IE download page is very straightforward and clean, and the particular download I would want is extremely easy to find. Don’t let your hate for MS blind you, folks.

  18. Jack Says:

    I just switched from Firefox to IE. Im on a steep learning curve as Im a tech luddite but have to say im loving the addons you can get. Loving this blog too but man a lot of the stuff you talk bout it is way over my head.

  19. emrinho Says:

    Firefox shouts like “Heey use me, I’m simpler.” And that works. Its human nature. We dont like hard things, do we? :)

  20. dani Says:

    the fx (I guess FF is refer to final fantasy) download button will detect OS and English (by default) automatically. But, try Google Chrome, local languages are the default choice.

  21. Moto Says:

    LOL emrinho. How difficult is it to type a website in the URL bar and hit enter/go?

    Dani: FF = FireFox .. it could also mean Final Fantasy. Fx certainly doesn’t refer to FireFox, it usually means effects. Learn to pay attention to the context. We are in an IE vs FF (Firefox) forum. Therefore, FF in this context = Firefox.

    Scott Roberts: I agree with your statement, “Don’t let your hatred for MS blind you, folks.”

    For all you who claim (or feel .. Yes, I’m referring to you John. Your feelings don’t dictate fact) FF3 is faster than IE8 just read the Washington Post article
    The problem with IE8 being a faster web browser than FF3 is that it isn’t much faster. The point: When IE8 is faster, it isn’t much faster and draws criticism from FF fanboys. And when FF is faster than IE, fanboys claim it as the king of web browsers. Double standard or MS haters?

    If you prefer Firefox use Firefox. If you prefer IE, use IE. Whatever browser you prefer, use it. You can claim what browser is the best/worst, but basically it comes down to personal preference. That’s why we don’t all dress the same or drive the same type of car.

  22. Marisa Says:

    There should be a combination of these two. The Firefox way is way more easier with one big download button right in the middle but there should be a list of other languages or version in a easy to read list at the page bottom.

    All those tables full of equal download links are just making the user confused. A list is always better with only few columns to note what are the differences. A good insight btw on the subject. Never visited the IE download page cause it has been an automated install for me only.