Most have heard by now that Internet Explorer is adopting the Firefox RSS icon to standardize and help users who hate having to remember what equivalent icons are. Of course this is great for users. Though I wish they were a bit more consistent with their practices. UI design cross browsers is important simply for security purposes (as I will demonstrate). IE has apparently made some great strides in combating Phishing. What I disagree with, is how they implemented the UI. I think it’s confusing, and could easily be fixed, should they decide to do so.
Their scheme essentially works by coloring the URL bar based on how suspicious the website is. Known scammers get red, suspected get yellow, and a potential good site would be green. This is obviously modeled after a traffic light.
What I dislike is how that can be confusing to the end user. Right now, the colored URL bar technique is used by Firefox and Opera to distinguish a secure website (since it’s more obvious than the little lock). Take a look at the little demo I have here:
Good Site Opera 9
Good Site Firefox 1.5
Bad Site Internet Explorer 7
Screenshot from IE Blog.
For an end user, who doesn’t follow browser changes, and perhaps first encounters IE 7 at work, or in a public terminal. Seeing the yellow bar is familiar. We know that as being safe. I think many wouldn’t even notice the “Suspicious Website” text on the right side. The shield even looks a bit like the Lock icon in Firefox. Very confusing.
My suggestion is to use another color, in particular, one that I call “orange”. I release the color “orange” under a Public Domain License. Anyone may use it, however they may wish, no need to credit me (though I’d appreciate it).
Bad Site Internet Explorer 7 + My Solution
This would distinguish the site as a possible fraudulent website, but still avoid using Yellow, which many users now view as “secure” aka “safe”. This solution solves the problem of conflicting UI design between browsers.