Over the weekend, the hefty horde of Internet users who despise Microsoft’s Internet Explorer were delighted to read a survey released by AptiQuant that showed that those who use the default PC web browser tend to have lower IQs than those that don’t. While the findings from the “psychometric consultant company” aren’t enough to conclude that the 43 percent of global web users that utilize IE are, in fact, dumber than those who use alternatives such as Firefox, it has encouraged us to reexamine Internet Explorer. The truth is nobody here has used it in quite some time, and with version 9 having been released last March it seems like a good time to give it a try.
Warning: Author bias against IE has been removed as much as possible.
The first thing that immediately defines Internet Explorer 9 is the fact that only those with Windows 7 or Vista can use it. We learned that the hard way after being forced to use an older computer lying around the office, because admittedly, nobody wanted to re-install IE onto their PCs. After succumbing to the demands of an advanced OS in order to get an objective sense of the browser, we were honestly a little shocked at the improvements we saw.
Accolades have to be extended to Microsoft for improvements in website pinning through IE 9. Users are able to keep their preferred or highly-frequented websites on a bar above webpage space and below the URL box. It can be any website which says a lot about the changes done to IE, which has gained a notorious reputation for inhibiting users from customizing the browser for third-party direct access.
Another improvement has been a simplified interface. While the competition is appreciated for their attempts in providing users with a detailed web browsing experience, some people prefer minimal distractions. Internet Explorer has for years struggled to compete against these increasingly complex alternatives by matching them in their variety of options. But they’ve done their fan base a service by simplifying the browsing experience.
But Internet Explorer continues to struggle with what should be considered basic elements of a high-end web browser. HTML5 is a hassle for IE 9 to adjust to, which results in a lot of blotchy and blacked out websites. Relative to previous incarnations of IE the acceptance rate of online content through IE 9 is impressive, but compared to Chrome and other competitors it persists as a paltry effort. Security has advanced ten-fold within the IE framework – which is great considering that was a primary factor for the mass exodus away from the browser during the early 2000s – but customization of security options continues to be a complex and uncertain affair.
Desktop and laptop reviews rarely include critiquing of Internet Explorer either because of redundancy or lack of relevancy considering a high number of consumers won’t use it. But Internet Explorer 9 should be included in reviews of this year’s releases if only to reassure the public that their default browser is no longer the threat or the nuisance it once was. Yes, it hasn’t caught up with the competition completely, but it’s certainly no longer the nitwit’s net browser.