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It's time to stop supporting Internet Explorer 6, surely?

Posted on by Clive Walker in Web Design

I wrote this post a while back. The content can still be relevant but the information I've linked to may not be available.

Just now, I fired up an old Windows 98 PC to look at a recent website amendment in Internet Explorer 6. That means using a PC that is approximately eight years old to view my website in a browser of a similar age. How ridiculous is that?! Whilst there are other ways of testing IE 6 without using an old PC like this [for example, Adobe Browser Lab and Litmus], I think it's time to stop supporting the old dinosaur that is IE 6. Yes, I know that perhaps 20% of users on some websites are still using it but it's not unreasonable now to say, enough is enough. Surely.

Update: George Ornbo at Shapeshed has created a small JavaScript file that will display a notice on your website if you want to encourage your website visitors to upgrade from IE 6 to another browser.

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  • 27 Jul 2009 16:55:51

    Taking the traffic of a site at random it has more traffic from IE6 than Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Mozilla put together. And in most cases these users don’t have a choice – their IT departments haven’t upgraded their browser! Would a shop turn away one in five people?

    But it all depends what you mean by support – should the site look exactly the same? No – you can get away with cutting down on any problem elements. But should the site work the same? Yes of course!

    I use an all purpose style reset, I avoid putting width and left/right margin/padding on the same item, I use a png fixer for IE6, and I avoid CSS3 properties (nice as some are, support just isn’t really consistent enough yet). In most cases I only need to make a few tweeks (IE specific stylesheet) for the site to pretty much be the same in IE6.

    IE8 on the other hand gives me a headache, as it seems to not like some css selectors which work in everything else (IE6 included). E.g. ‘div li’ wouldn’t work, whereas ‘div ul li’ would.

  • 27 Jul 2009 17:18:35

    @daylightgambler: Yes, I would generally agree. I would never be happy with a website that did not work in IE6 and the ‘support’ that I mean is mainly related to spending time ‘just checking’, firing up the old PC, and sometimes solving relatively small cosmetic problems. I don’t tend to spend a lot of time on these and agree that not all websites should look the same in all browsers. I guess my post reflects what I was thinking when I tested just now with my old PC. It just seemed kinda crazy as the old hard drive whirred into life and the Windows 98 logo came up.

  • 22 Aug 2009 00:03:22

    Until Microsoft can understand that many people want to view the websites and not toolbars, I will never update from IE6. 3, 4, 5 rows of toolbars is ridiculous, especially if you are navigating the web on a new netbook. Until I can get IE 7 or 8 with a one row toolbar, no thank you. It is just the web for gosh sakes, a browser is pretty much a window.

  • 22 Aug 2009 08:26:58

    @Bry; I use IE 8 with most toolbars turned off for the reasons you say. I think it’s relatively easy to turn these off? For netbook usage, I recommend F11 Full Screen mode where the toolbars are hidden and the browser window is maximised. It gives more screen space I find and the toolbars just appear when your mouse is near the top of the screen. This works well for me.

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