A few nights ago while I was playing around on Pinterest, I was assaulted by the following pop-up message:
“Pinterest works much better on modern browsers. Internet Explorer is getting pretty old. You may want to consider switching to something newer.”
Wow, Pinterest, you have a lotta nerve smack-talking Internet Explorer when the whole reason I was using Pinterest in IE instead of Chrome was to check and see if a bug I recently reported to Pinterest was affecting other browsers.
Yeah, ANOTHER Pinterest bug, one that’s making it impossible to pin from the web. You know what they say about people in glass houses…
Bristled at their smarmy, condescending nag, I immediately took a screen grab of the message and tweeted out:
Call me old-fashioned, call me out of touch, but I’m telling you, what I said is true. I DO still need Internet Explorer for some of the things I do, and IE DOES do a number of things that other browsers simply don’t (and they SHOULD).
So I started thinking: I wish there was a way to design your own custom web browser, where you could incorporate any functions and features from any existing browsers. You know, take the best that each has to offer and make one good browser.
Currently, no browser is perfect. Or even close to it, in my opinion, which is why I’m forced to run THREE browsers simultaneously.
Considering Internet Explorer is so “primitive” by everyone’s standards, why can I not save an image as a .bmp in either Chrome or Firefox? And while Firefox and Internet Explorer both offer the SUPER important feature “warn me when I attempt to close multiple tabs”/”do you want to close all tabs or the current tab?”, respectively, the ever popular, supposedly ‘superior’ Chrome instantly vanishes my 15 working tabs on a near daily basis when I accidentally click too close to the “x”. Absolutely maddening.
But Chrome does have one leg up on Internet Explorer: the ability to do a reverse image search with a simple right-click of the mouse. I also prefer Chrome’s right-click option to “paste and go” in the URL box.
Another downside to Chrome and especially Firefox? The browser appearance and/or lack of toolbars.
I’m a Classic Windows girl through and through. I run Windows 7 Professional on my laptop, and the first thing I did when I got it back in 2012 (and after I had the hard drive formatted in 2014) was change the theme to Windows Classic.
I can’t STAND the modern “sleek and streamlined” look. I hate when there are no visible toolbars and menus. People say they want a “cleaner” working environment, but how can you DO anything when you constantly have to go searching for buttons and functions?
So I much prefer the overall appearance and toolbar setup in Internet Explorer. Even running the Windows Classic theme, Chrome still refuses to LOOK like Classic Windows. And I’ve never really liked having the tabs bar at the very top of the browser, which is how it is in Chrome.
But NOTHING looks worse than Firefox.
What the actual hell…?
And of course, by default, ALL the browsers come with minimal toolbars showing. You have to go searching to turn them all on. But let’s be serious here — Firefox looks like the beta version for the world’s first web browser. It’s THAT bad. In fact, the ONLY reason I have Firefox at all is because for quite some time now, I’ve been having trouble running Twitter in IE. And a few weeks ago, the ol’ Bluebird of Tweetness tossed up a message informing me that Twitter would no longer be supported in Internet Explorer.
I curate two separate Twitter accounts: A personal one, @WendyLovesJesus, and an art account, @ArtistsOfBeauty. And ever since Twitter made it so you have a single login for Twitter AND Tweetdeck, I can no longer be signed into two different accounts in the same browser. I was using Internet Explorer for @ArtistsOfBeauty, but after that message, I figured I’d better find an alternative. And since I already use Chrome for my personal account, Firefox it was.
The toolbar and menu setup drives me crazy, but I don’t have to use it all that often, so it’s serving its purpose. Still ridiculous though that I need three browsers in order to get through my days, right?
So what would my dream web browser look like? If I could design my ultimate browser experience, I would take all the best options from the three majors and create a mashup worthy of Dr. Frankenstein himself.
Let’s break it down. Here are my top six requirements for the perfect web browser.
The Option to Save Images in Any Format
Open a picture in Chrome, right-click it, hit ‘save image as’, annnnd there are no options in the ‘save as type’ drop-down menu. So you basically have to save it as whatever the heck it already is. Which I’m sure is fine for people who aren’t using multiple imaging programs that are more than 15 years old. Because just like web browsers, no one program will do everything I need it to do. Well, perhaps a full version of Adobe Photoshop would, but I’m not about to drop hundreds of dollars to find out!
There’s all kinds of hidden formatting when it comes to images, and a lot of what I save off the internet these days won’t open in my main photo program. Despite the fact that the picture is saved as a .jpg, which is supported, I often see the following error message: “Invalid File Format”. The only solution is to go back and save the image as a Windows Bitmap — which also has the added benefit of preserving the quality of a file better than a .jpg. Older programs don’t have any trouble opening .bmps, but on the flip side, .bmps are not supported by many popular social media sites, like Pinterest and Twitter. So what I’m saying is it’s a butt-load of steps just to get a usable image these days. And the only browser that will let me save an image in the .bmp format is Internet Explorer.
Side note: Just typing the extension “.bmp” onto the filename in Chrome does not override the embedded .jpg formatting, and my programs still won’t open them.
A Warning Message When Multiple Tabs Are About to Be Closed
As indicated above, this one is a real problem for me. I have no idea why something so basic is not included in Chrome, but it would definitely be in my dream browser.
I’m guilty of having too many tabs open at the same time. As I sit here writing this right now, there are 8 tabs up in my browser. And the fact that EVERYTHING would instantly close if I were to click the “x” on the Chrome window is simply unacceptable.
Sometimes I forget that I need to close each tab separately, and I click the main “x” instead of the tab’s “x”. Sometimes I just get working too quickly and in my click-frenzy, I accidentally hit the “x”. Still other times I mean to click on the “three dot” button directly below the “x” which opens the Chrome menu bar (WHY can I not have a visible menu bar in Chrome!?) and because I’m using the track pad and not a mouse… there goes my browser.
Some may think that losing your entire browsing window by mistake isn’t that big of a deal. You can relaunch the browser and then reopen the last session or previous tabs. But I’ve noticed that Chrome is very fickle when it comes to reopening things you’ve closed — either by accident or on purpose. Sometimes if you click “reopen closed tab” a few times, it reopens every tab EXCEPT the one you wanted. And sometimes when you’ve lost the whole shebang of 27+ tabs, you click “reopen closed window”… and absolutely nothing happens.
There’s also the problem of losing your place. I’m often doing research, and so across 4 or 5 tabs, I’m more than likely scrolled down the pages quite a ways. Close and reopen that tab, and you’re right back to the top again.
I know, First World problems, but the fact is that ALL of these issues could be solved if Chrome just stopped being so belligerent and offered to warn you before you make a huge mistake, just like the other browsers already do.
Have As Many Visible Tool and Menu Bars As I Want
Why, why, WHY would I want to have FEWER options in my life? And more work? Because that’s what you’re getting when you hide away all the menus and buttons in a web browser.
This is perhaps what I’ve always liked best about Internet Explorer. With a simple right-click, I can add whatever menus I want to the toolbar.
When I started using Chrome, all it offered me was the bookmarks bar. The menu bar has been condensed into that three-dot button just below the “x” in the corner, and darn it, I just wish that all those options were always visible!
Quick thumbs up to Firefox, though, which did also let me add a menu bar.
Customize the Colour of Your Browser
Thankfully this is one you can already do in Chrome by adding extensions to enable a custom theme. (Firefox also has something similar, so this is the one time that Internet Explorer is the odd man out.) Now, I don’t like to add on a bunch of things that are likely to slow down my browser, but Chrome was so boring and ugly that I was willing to give themes a try. Now my Chrome is pink, and I couldn’t be happier about that!
Custom Page Zoom Button
This is yet another option Internet Explorer offers that the other two don’t, and why they don’t is beyond me. Firstly, both Chrome and Firefox have outright hidden the zoom function. Secondly, you’re limited to a preset zoom increment, which is surprisingly annoying and an actual hindrance if you’re someone like me who takes a lot of screen grabs and wants the best size and quality possible.
Internet Explorer has a zoom button right there in the bottom right-hand corner of the browser. Super easy to access, but most importantly, it also offers Custom Zoom.
Type in any number you want and IE will adjust the zoom for you. Is 125% too small but 150% is just a bit too big? No problem! Just type in 136, 141, 144, or anything in between, and you’re good to go.
This is something that has always perplexed me, both with web browsers, social media platforms, and programs. If you offer a function, why would you ever take it away? Every “upgrade” is, by definition, supposed to be better and give you more than you had before. Yet, time and time again, all I see is the loss of the most basic functions and options, resulting in less user-friendly environments.
I discovered a perfect example of this while composing the post you’re currently reading. The underline button is now gone from the editing toolbar. It used to be hidden in the “Toolbar Toggle” button’s drop-down options, but now it’s just missing completely. I know, you can just use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+U, which is what I’ve had to do in this post. BUT, the point is you shouldn’t HAVE to do that. Why take away such a basic button when you already did the work to have the engineers integrate it into your platform?
These are the things that keep me up at night. -_-
The Option to Do a Reverse Image Search
I’ll be honest — I couldn’t live without this function. And frankly, once I realized this option actually existed, it was what finally drove me away from my beloved Internet Explorer and wooed me into the forbidden arms of Google Chrome.
I’m a stickler for proper attributions when it comes to artwork, and one of my biggest pet peeves is when people 1) Post a painting without any attribution at all, or 2) They post it with the wrong attribution.
I have actually seen paintings with the artist misidentified… and the artist’s signature can be plainly seen and read in the picture!
Any regular readers of my blog know that the first Sunday of every month, I publish a Scripture post — verses from the Bible paired with paintings. And at the end of every post, I list the painting attributions.
Artist, title and date info is not always available, but believe me when I say that I’m very serious about attributions — I will spend HOURS trying to find the correct information and details about a painting I want to post, either here on the blog, or on my @ArtistsOfBeauty Twitter page. It’s no joke. I put a lot of time, effort and work into everything I do, including properly attributing art that I’m using.
So being able to right-click any picture and go “search Google for image” is absolutely invaluable to me in my work. And it was the deal breaker when it came down to choosing what would be my primary browser.
What are some of the features and functions that you want to see in a web browser? Are you, like me, stuck using multiple browsers to do everything you want to do? Feel free to share in the comments below.
You know, maybe the ultimate web browser has already come and gone and most people don’t even know it…
Just give me back Netscape Navigator. Yeah. Now THAT was a web browser…
Note: I think I’d like to start promoting previous blog posts at the end of new ones. Maybe not all the time, but whenever I have a post that I feel could use some extra promotion and attention. My last blog post, Feeding or Fighting the Monster Within: The True Message of Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein’, was pretty heavy reading. It’s a deep dive into a classic novel, with a very introspective look at the human psyche and why we do the things we do. I think it’s one of my best posts, so if you haven’t read it yet, I hope you’ll take the time to click over to it today.