It is time for the web design community to take a stand and stop supporting Microsoft Internet Explorer 6! That’s right, I said it, as many have said before me, and yet somehow, most web designers still cross-browser test in IE6. Well, guess what, I’ve stopped. Okay, not completely. With my freelance clients, I will probably still check IE6, because truthfully, many of my clients themselves still run IE6. However, at my fulltime job as the web designer we have officially stopped supporting IE6! So why did I push for this, and how are we handling it?
So, some quick stats on Microsoft Internet Explorer 6. IE6 was launched by Microsoft in 2001. Though it has had some minor updates since it’s initial launch, you know that doesn’t change anything, especially because some people out there are still using that first launched version! IE6 came standard on every Windows machine since then until IE7 was launched in 2006. Now last time I checked (aka when this post was written) it was late 2009. IE6 has been out of date since it’s inception, but has definitely been out of date since it was replaced by IE7 over 3 years ago. So how it is that still approximately 5% of internet users still use IE6? Well sadly, Microsoft does not require, or even really push users to update, especially in the olden days. I grabbed that 5% estimate off of Google Analytics for my own site, my fulltime employer’s website, and a few of my freelance clients. Though the percent is slowly falling, it will be around for a while I’m sure. So, based off of the small percentage, which is slowly falling, and the fact that cross-browser testing IE6 occupies at least 50% of my cross-browser testing time
The irony of it all is that even Microsoft is desperate for users to upgrade off of IE6 to IE7 or IE8. This of course begs the question, how stupid do you have to be to still run IE6!?! At least 90% of the display bugs I’m aware of are solely IE6 problems. Entire blog articles are devoted to listing bug fixes for IE6. Well, based off of all of those stats, our company finally let me move away from IE6. We put up a warning (only visible to IE6 users) that we don’t support IE6. We even included a link to download IE8, but somehow I don’t think that’s gonna do anything. I’m just glad to be done with it!
So if you know what’s good for you as a web designer, forget IE6! The more people that stop supporting it, the faster people will switch off of it, and the faster we’ll be rid of that evil browser that has trouble outputting today’s beautiful websites. Of course, if you are still making websites with red text on a blue background, maybe you should still be testing in IE6…