Tuesday, November 22nd 2005

Address Bar Colours In IE7

Rob Franco has written about the plans for IE7’s secure/insecure website user interface over at IEBlog.

The current suggestion is to have three different background colours for the address bar indicating different statuses for the current website. Red – the website is blocked by the phishing filter and an informative message is displayed instead. Yellow – a suspicious website, showing signs of being a phishing scam but not confirmed by the list of known phishing websites. Green – sites that meet future guidelines for better identity validation.

So here’s the problem: Firefox and Opera today both use the yellow background colour, together with the lock icon, to identify secure (https) websites:

Firefox in secure (https) mode.

Opera in secure (https) mode.

If Microsoft were to implement their three colour system it might cause major confusion, at least for the digitally impaired.

Thankfully (and surprisingly!) Microsoft’s IE developers have sat down together with devs from Opera, Mozilla and KDE and talked the matter over. Hopefully this will lead to some kind of mutual agreement on this issue. (Although I believe they were mostly discussing ways of selecting and identifying properly identified websites.)

Two possible solutions to the colour problem popped up in the comments:

  1. Microsoft makes their yellow some shade of orange instead to minimize the confusion.
  2. The browser UI developers together agree on some standard colour system and apply it in all browsers. Either the system proposed by Microsoft, or some variation of the system used today in Firefox and Opera.

The latter would obviously be better for the user, but the question is – can these big browser players really reach an agreement here?

I still can’t quite grasp that they actually sat down together and talked about this, like we were moving towards some kind of… er… I don’t know – Web 2.0?

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