There’s a great deal of people who dislike IE6 and I’m amongst them, it’s an absolute pain in the arse to fix for and I agree that it should be done away with but I’m here to appeal to your sensible side. We need to be reasonable about it and I think it would be a different story if it were an Apple browser that was dragging it’s heels (I know, I know if it were an Apple browser it wouldn’t have sucked in the first place).
But why am I bothering to write about it when everyone else already has? Well it’s the attitude that some people seem to present to the problem and more so when I’ve seen people apply blanket bans on IE6 users on client sites.
Let users choose
I read a post somewhere (if someone can find it please comment it below) saying that it’s like your mechanic telling you not to drive Fords because he prefers you to drive Toyotas. You’re likely to change mechanics. I think it’s a good analogy but I don’t think it’s quite on that scale. People don’t put the same thought into buying a car as they do their browser. It’s more like your local newsagent telling you to stop buying the Daily Star because it’s rubbish. It’s the same news as in The Times and The Guardian but let’s face it, it’s just not as well written or as in depth.
But people aren’t going to stop buying the Star and as designers we aren’t readers. Let’s say we stopped letting our news show up in the Daily Star, we only let people read news about us in the Times and the Guardian and maybe the Mirror. Then we miss out on the readers from the Star and they don’t really care, they’ll just read what’s in their paper.
You may be happy to lose the readers, but are your clients? At the end of the day as long as the Daily Star is around there will always be other people willing to publish for it.
Some users can’t choose
There’s also the fact that many users of IE6 are in corporate enviroments and can’t choose to use anything else. These people are simply going to go elsewhere for there information.
Meanwhile in the real world
Let’s take this to the real world, someone is looking for a toad supplier and they visit toadsupplies.com but they get a great big notice saying they’re using IE6 and they can’t go any further. They’re on a work machine, they can’t upgrade so what do they do? They go somewhere else and find someone who does let them use IE6. Simple as that.
So what do we do then smartarse?
Yep I know that’s what you’re all asking. Well there’s obviously Google Frame, but as far as I know that can still come up against admin installation issues in corporate environments. My personal choice is simply to stick a notice at top of the page telling users that the site isn’t going to work well in IE6 so if they can upgrade, in short educate the user.
And those stick in the mud corporates? Well they aren’t going to change until Microsoft tell them to, so I guess we need to give Microsoft a hard time, I’m sure they’ll listen!
If you wish to educate yourself on some more anti IE resources head over to Cats who code. Although I personally would say IE8 isn’t that bad a browser and Firefox is appearing slow at the moment, if Google Chrome gets developer tools sorted I may be off there myself.
First of all; you’re saying people put more thought into choosing their browser than their car? I’ll assume you meant it the other way around of course. Most people don’t choose their browser – fact. They use whatever is installed by default on their computer.
And the mechanic analogy – it sucks. I know fuck all about cars, so if a mechanic, i.e. someone who knows shit loads more about cars than me, says change your car because it’s not safe, it’s more likely to crash, it’ll be expensive to fix, etc, etc, then I would probably actually listen to the guy, listen to his expertise and actually think about what he said. Ok, if he’s a toyota mechanic and he’s trying to convince me to exchange my car for a toyota then yes, alarm bells may well start to ring. But a web developer, that doesn’t work for any browser vendor, is likely to be giving good advice impartially.
The daily star does not write the same news as the times just in a slightly worse way. I have yet to see a headline in the times along the lines of ‘My bi-sexual vicar shagged my cat’ which is pretty much what most of the articles in the star are along the lines of. the times is about 18 times bigger than the star and is known as a ‘broadsheet’ while the star, dirty, despciable thing that it is, is known as a ‘tabloid’. Does the star have a business section? I don’t think so. So this analogy sucks ass too I’m afraid.
The corporations excuse is about the only valid point in this post.
“so I guess we need to give Microsoft a hard time, I’m sure they’ll listen!” are you kidding me? MS do not care about developers – fact.
Just because IE8 is not as bad as IE6, it does not make it an ok browser. it still sucks. It’s still riddled with bugs. It still doesn’t support the CSS that other browsers do…
Basically, the best solution will be equally from the two extremes – let the ie6 users know about their browsers and still make the website functional in ie6.
Depends on the target audience, no? 🙂
Ok here we go, first of all no I’m not saying people put the same thought into the browser as buying a car. I checked the post but I hadn’t typed it wrongly. And fair enough you don’t agree with the car analogy it’s not mine but it’s one I’ve read around.
As for my newspaper analogy it’s merely my way of giving an analogy on a more appropraite scale. Yes they don’t report exactly the same news but it’s more about the attitudes toward the papers. Some people don’t care where as some people make sure they’re using something trustworthy and accurate.
And the final Microsoft comment? No they aren’t going to listen, but I often forget sarcasm doesn’t work too well on the web.
@Css yep I would say that’s probably best. While it’s more work to do that it’s surely the more accessible solution. Personally I don’t check much beyond basics in IE6 and I’m sure IE6 users are used to looking at a dodgy looking internet
I have to say, much as I hate (developing/testing) IE6, I don’t agree with the “ban” attitude.
I wrote an article along similar lines recently:-
A corrected version of your mechanic analogy would be the mechanic telling you that he won’t work on your car because it would take him twice as long to fix as it would for any other car.
And given that more accurate situation, I don’t see how anyone can fault the mechanic; just like I don’t see how anyone can fault a developer for not supporting IE6.
Now, as far as “banning” IE6 users, that’s just childish. But don’t expect me to litter my code with special cases for them.
Hi Derrick, yeah I guess that sits a bit better as an analogy. I’ll have to find out where I got that from though as it’s not my analogy and everyone is assuming.
But thanks for leaving a comment and judging from your final comment I think you got the general feeling of the post as well.
Personally I stop any development when looking to fix things for IE6
1. there machine has never been updated, IE7 is a mandatory update for XP
2. the amount of man hours going into fixing things for IE is not worth the amount of money someone who hasnt updated there machine in so long is willing to spend
3. more than likelly a machine that has never been updated is full of malware and being used by a remote-script kiddie, do you really want to risk letting that person enter credit card details in, and then blaming you when they get stolen
4. its a browser thats over 7 years old, most people dont drive cars that old, if Facebook (in top 10 most visited websites) and MS themselves dont support it why in hll should another company
1. that person spending 5$ might come back and spend 50$
2. it will work in ie6 and you can say it does
3. you can boast you spent 2k on making a 5$ sale
I truly enjoyed this. It was very educational as well as helpful. I’ll come back to check on upcoming articles.
That was a very good post,Maybe I will sign up to your rss.
Brilliant post,I just subscribed to your rss.
We this particular on, thank you writing regarding, that exactly what to be able to in order to!
Useful post. Lucky me I found your webpage by indicent, I saved it so I can find it next time.