High Maintenance for Developers
Keeping the WordPress code usable for Internet Explorer 11 makes extra work for developers in order to support a rapidly dwindling user base.
Rather than waste resources supporting a small amount of users, WordPress is going to relieve developers from the burden of having to support IE 11.
There would also be benefits for users of WordPress and those who visit WordPress websites.
The WordPress announcement listed the benefits:
“Dropping support would result in smaller scripts, lower maintenance burden, and decrease build times.
This is a result of heavily relying on transpilers, further explained by Jason Miller, Web DevRel at Google.
Moreover, dropping support would ultimately make WordPress’ currently included polyfill script obsolete, decreasing the enqueued scripts size 102kB more.
The smaller downloads would positively impact all users, especially those on slower networks, or computing devices. We expect a result of dropping IE11 support to improve performance for the vast majority of users.”
Continue Reading Below
Downsides of Dropping Support
Dropping support for IE 11 is not all sunshine and good news. There may be folks in countries around the world who are constrained to using IE 11 for legal and other reasons.
According to the discussion:
“There are major institutions like banking, government, and education that are unable to control when they can upgrade sometimes due to legal requirements, depending on the country.
This further underscores the need to determine a policy that takes into consideration both a data-informed approach and the impacted user bases while weighing the potential benefits for the wider web. “
This discussion to consider dropping Internet Explorer 11 is part of an ongoing discussion that began 16 months ago when a developer ticket was opened where it was thoroughly discussed and it was decided to implement a nag screen to encourage publishers to upgrade their browser.
The decision was made to implement a nag screen to warn users that they were using an insecure browser and to update it.
According to the opening discussion:
“Maintainability cost of IE11 (In terms of time, bundle size and a lot more) is very high and IE11 is approaching the 1% threshold in its usage worldwide… I think we should consider adding a notice to discourage its usage.”
Another member of the development team noted that government clients (at the time) were required to use IE 11:
“After discussion in the accessibility meeting 29 Nov 2019, we agree that this it is a good idea to encourage this – we’re happy to encourage people off IE 11 if they have the option to change.
However, we want to be sure that this is separate from our ending support for IE 11. IE 11 is a required platform for government clients as long as it’s still supported by Microsoft, and is still in use relatively heavily by screen reader users.
Nag needs to take into consideration that people may not have the option to change, be permanently dismissible, and be filterable.”
Screenshot of Nag Screen
WordPress is Seeking Feedback
The announcement noted that they are seeking feedback. No decision on dropping IE 11 has been made. At this point WordPress is simply bringing the topic up for discussion and soliciting for feedback from the WordPress community.
“This is a tough decision to make and we want to solicit feedback from as many voices across the community it may impact.
…Once we’ve gathered feedback, the next step will be to consolidate and decide the policy.”
Read the official WordPress announcement:
Google December Product Reviews Update Affects More Than English Language Sites? via @sejournal, @martinibuster
Google’s Product Reviews update was announced to be rolling out to the English language. No mention was made as to if or when it would roll out to other languages. Mueller answered a question as to whether it is rolling out to other languages.
Google December 2021 Product Reviews Update
Our December 2021 product reviews update is now rolling out for English-language pages. It will take about three weeks to complete. We have also extended our advice for product review creators: https://t.co/N4rjJWoaqE
— Google Search Central (@googlesearchc) December 1, 2021
The focus of the update was for improving the quality of reviews shown in Google search, specifically targeting review sites.
A Googler tweeted a description of the kinds of sites that would be targeted for demotion in the search rankings:
“Mainly relevant to sites that post articles reviewing products.
Think of sites like “best TVs under $200″.com.
Goal is to improve the quality and usefulness of reviews we show users.”
Continue Reading Below
Google also published a blog post with more guidance on the product review update that introduced two new best practices that Google’s algorithm would be looking for.
The first best practice was a requirement of evidence that a product was actually handled and reviewed.
The second best practice was to provide links to more than one place that a user could purchase the product.
The Twitter announcement stated that it was rolling out to English language websites. The blog post did not mention what languages it was rolling out to nor did the blog post specify that the product review update was limited to the English language.
Google’s Mueller Thinking About Product Reviews Update
Product Review Update Targets More Languages?
The person asking the question was rightly under the impression that the product review update only affected English language search results.
Continue Reading Below
But he asserted that he was seeing search volatility in the German language that appears to be related to Google’s December 2021 Product Review Update.
This is his question:
“I was seeing some movements in German search as well.
So I was wondering if there could also be an effect on websites in other languages by this product reviews update… because we had lots of movement and volatility in the last weeks.
…My question is, is it possible that the product reviews update affects other sites as well?”
John Mueller answered:
“I don’t know… like other languages?
My assumption was this was global and and across all languages.
But I don’t know what we announced in the blog post specifically.
But usually we try to push the engineering team to make a decision on that so that we can document it properly in the blog post.
I don’t know if that happened with the product reviews update. I don’t recall the complete blog post.
But it’s… from my point of view it seems like something that we could be doing in multiple languages and wouldn’t be tied to English.
And even if it were English initially, it feels like something that is relevant across the board, and we should try to find ways to roll that out to other languages over time as well.
So I’m not particularly surprised that you see changes in Germany.
But I also don’t know what we actually announced with regards to the locations and languages that are involved.”
Does Product Reviews Update Affect More Languages?
While the tweeted announcement specified that the product reviews update was limited to the English language the official blog post did not mention any such limitations.
Google’s John Mueller offered his opinion that the product reviews update is something that Google could do in multiple languages.
One must wonder if the tweet was meant to communicate that the update was rolling out first in English and subsequently to other languages.
It’s unclear if the product reviews update was rolled out globally to more languages. Hopefully Google will clarify this soon.
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