'Forgotten Six' highlight Microsoft Browser Ballot flaw

Microsoft has begun rolling out its "Browser Ballot" screen for European copies of Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7. The idea is to give users who have Internet Explorer set as a default the opportunity to choose a different browser.

Microsoft has begun rolling out its "Browser Ballot" screen for European copies of Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7. The idea is to give users who have Internet Explorer set as a default the opportunity to choose a different browser.

But the system is flawed.

There are 12 browsers on offer:

  • Avant
  • Chrome
  • Firefox
  • Flock
  • Green Browser
  • Internet Explorer
  • K-meleon
  • Maxthon
  • Opera
  • Safari
  • Sleipnir
  • Slim

Problem is, the window that they are displayed in only has room to show five at a time.

Now, six of the seven vendors of the 'forgotten' browsers have signed a petition asking the European Commission to fix this problem.

The petition has been signed by Jeff Chen, chief executive of Maxthon; Stephen Cheng, president of SlimBrowser maker FlashPeak; Anderson Du, CEO of Avant maker Avant Force; Shawn Hardin, CEO of Flock; Yasuhiro Miki, overseas marketing leader for the Sleipnir browser; and LongFeng Ran, a representative of GreenBrowser. The final browser vendor, K-Meleon, is not part of the petition.

"We are only requesting the simple addition of any text or design element, "We are only requesting the simple addition of any text or design element, that would indicate to an average user that there are choices 'to the right of the visible screen.'"

"The final Choice Screen design leaves the vast majority of users unaware that there are more than five browsers to choose from."

It should be noted that there is a horizontal scrollbar at the bottom of the screen, but this is unlikely to be noticed by many.

In my mind, a better solution would be too make the whole screen bigger, and show all twelve browsers at the same time.