If you know about developing rich web content, then you know a common infuriating topic: Internet Explorer 6.0. As a normal web user you may be asking “Why is one application such a big deal?”.
Let’s illustrate by example: You are building an important presentation for use by the top management of your company using Microsoft PowerPoint. Everyone in your company will see your work and your job may very well be on the line if you mess this up. So, like the diligent worker that you are, you spend weeks polishing the content and visual presentation to the highest caliber.
Presentation day comes along and tiny butterflies battle it out in your stomach. But deep inside you take comfort that you’ve done your best. The lights slowly dim, the projector fires up, and your presentation hits the screen mangled beyond reproach. Text is randomly placed across the screen and some items don’t even appear. Everyone looks over at you with judgement. Later you find out the presentation laptop had an edition Microsoft Word that didn’t work with any of the other versions of PowerPoint.
Welcome to IE 6. The truth is nearly every web browsing application behaves similarly, except IE 6. It ignores most of your commands, and requires it’s own which mess up the other 90% of users view. For most web projects close to 1/3 the time is spent cross-browser testing. And by cross browser testing, the vast majority of this time is IE 6 support.
So what is a code warrior to do? Well Cubicle Ninjas is announcing we’re officially dropping support in all future website for IE 6 (unless requested by a client specifically).
Why is this good for clients? Four big reasons:
- Money: By dropping IE 6 you’ll save money because we won’t have to jump through hoops to get it to work.
- Project Length: And you’ll be able to get your beautiful website up even faster.
- Functionality: IE 6 is now seven years old and doesn’t allow many of Web 2.0’s greatest features, or makes them not worth implementing due to massive time needs.
- Principle: By supporting IE 6 further web designers allow the web to an uneven playing field. We aren’t interested in helping a bad platform continue to be used unpunished.
Why is this bad? Honest answers:
- Users: 25% of web users are still reported to be on IE6.
- Adoption: Most of the 25% don’t know why they should upgrade or where to go.
This is a hard decision, but we feel it is one that allows us to build even greater websites without having to punish users who are up to date. And we’re not alone in making it. Recently Apple and 37signals very openly dropped IE 6 support as well. In addition websites like IE Death March are appearing to rally web developers to the cause of a unified internet. We’re proud to support this push and we hope it will make this interactive playground a bit more interesting for us all.
Do you still have IE 6? It sounds like a great time to upgrade! With new versions of FireFox, Safari, and even Internet Explorer everyone can enjoy a faster, safer, and more exciting online experience.
Kudos to you guys for dropping IE6, there’s still so many companies out there who aren’t brave enough, or smart enough, to no longer support developing for IE6.
Our website stats tell us we only have about 2% of our traffic on IE6, that’s taken a big drop in the last 6 months and hopefully will fall to almost nothing.
Thanks for the kind words Matt! With Google Chrome and Firefox 3 we can all hope that the lumbering IE 6 menace will die a quick death.
But what will us geeks complain then? (Ahh, to dream…)