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: Should I bother supporting IE6? IE6 is deprecated and Microsoft is bent on killing it. However, I know that a lot of people still use it. Should I continue to support it anyway?


Posted in: #BrowserSupport #InternetExplorer6

IE6 is deprecated and Microsoft is bent on killing it.

However, I know that a lot of people still use it. Should I continue to support it anyway?

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When developing a website recently, I looked into stats for my country, Moldova, and decided to not support it. it is still possible to view site in IE6, but with low quality.

You can propose IE6 users to install Google Chrome. So they will have an ability to view your site as users of modern browsers do.

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Looking at the statistics for our website, which gets up to 3.7 million page hits a month, I see that roughly 10% of users are still on IE6. This isn't a group we can really ignore, at that magnitude!

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It depends on what you mean by "support". "Work", yes - unless you don't mind turning potential customers away unnecessarily. "Look exactly the same in IE6 as it does in every other browser", no.

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The longer we will support this ugly monster the longer it will live, take him off the respirator as he is too old and making our lives miserable

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I just support IE5 & 6 on commercial sites. On private sites I don't care...

You can use reset css files to fix the box render differences.

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I personally support it with this on any sites that will let me, seriously, it is still a business requirement with many of my clients. And who am I to argue with the people who pay the (bigger) bills?

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A lot of people will say that it depends on your users and if your users are using IE 6 you need to support it.

This is true, but you should stop supporting IE 6 anyway.

Build a site that relies heavily on ajax, jquery, javascript, etc..

Load it up in IE 6 and then load it in Chrome.

Watch their jaws drop as they see how fast chrome is.

Then inform them of how poor the security of IE 6 is and how much of a cost it is to have designers and developers bend over backwards to get it tow ork on IE6.

If they still don't care, then do what you need to, but at least you'll have tried.

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For reference, I launched a website around targeting people interested in the world cup 2 months ago. Of the 14,000+ visitors I got, exactly 262 of them used IE6.

Its entirely possible that in your domain you will not need to support IE6.

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When building an app for a customer you have to support what they need but when I build a public web site for home users I figure if they want to be backwards they don't have to see the site correctly.

If google, Microsoft, Facebook etc... all stopped supporting IE6 then why should I have to support it.

On a more technical note. If you use clean html and css without any fancy positioning and lots of JS effects your site will look fine in IE6 anyway.

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Posting using IE6 whilst at work (on my lunch!)

I work in central UK government, we are stuck on ie6 for the forseeable future, the reason being our payroll system causes ie7 and ie8 to crash.

My only other advice is, if you choose to support ie6, remember to test in it as you are building.

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Checkout - It can allow you to use modern features that aren't natively supported by IE

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There are practical ways around the problem of supporting this decrepit old browser. The two major compatibility headaches are Javascript support and CSS support.

Javascript support can be remedied through the use of libraries such as jQuery. This will allow code to work cross-platform (even if it runs a lot more slowly) and means that only one group (the jQuery authors) have to worry about making it work. Everyone else gets to benefit from their work.

CSS support can be remedied through the use of a CSS framework such as Blueprint. CSS frameworks are not universally popular, but if you need something to "just work" and you aren't too fussed about including some rather obscure class names in your HTML, they speed up cross-browser development and remove all the guesswork. If you don't want to use a framework, good CSS Reset scripts are available from many places.

As much as I believe that people should be discouraged from using IE6 as far as possible, I like just being able to not worry about it. Instead, I can move on to the next problem or project.

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If you're working on a contract or freelance basis, this is entirely up to you. I use a version of the Internet Explorer 6 Contract Adendum by Jonathan Christopher of Monday By Noon.

As described by the Author:

This contract addendum acts as a notification to clients regarding your (limited) support of Internet Explorer. It is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. This document is currently at version 1.0 and will more than likely be updated quite often until version 2.0 is reached.

I have not seen it updated since I found it, but that's really not important since it was the concept and the basic language that I used before tweaking it. Essentially in the form presented on the site it says that you will create a version of the site for IE6 that presents the info that needs presenting, though not necessarily using the approved design. Also that you reserve the right to feed them motivation to upgrade their browser.

Depending on the client and the project, you can just have it say that IE6 will not be supported, that you will deliver support for IE6 as a second-phase deliverable, at extra cost, or offer complete support.

If you choose to support IE6 you can mitigate some of the issues with lack of feature support using the following resources:

html5shiv: a JavaScript shiv for IE to recognize and style the HTML5 elements.
CSS3 Pie: an IE attached behavior (an .htc file) that makes Internet Explorer 6-8 capable of rendering several of the most useful CSS3 decoration features. When applied to an element, it allows IE to recognize and display border-radius, box-shadow, border-image, multiple background images, and linear-gradient as background image.
Modernizr: a Javascript library that uses feature detection to test the current browser against upcoming CSS3/HTML5 features, adding classes to the element for those which are supported. Also creates a self-titled global JavaScript object which contains a boolean property for each feature, true if supported and false if not. Adds support for styling and printing HTML5 elements so you can use elements such as <section>, <header> and <nav>.
DD_belatedPNG: a Javascript library that adds PNG image support to IE6. You can use PNGs as the src of an <img /> element or as a background-image property in CSS. Unlike AlphaImageLoader, background-position and background-repeat work as intended, and elements will respond to the a:hover pseudo-class.
TwinHelix IE PNG Fix: an IE attached behavior (an .htc file) that adds PNG support with alpha opacity to IE 6. Full CSS background positioning and repeat are supporting (including CSS sprites) with additional (included) JavaScript.
Whatever:hover: an IE attached behavior (an .htc file) that automatically patches :hover, :active and :focus for IE6, IE7 and IE8 quirks, letting you use them like you would in any other browser. Includes AJAX support, meaning that any html that gets inserted into the document via javascript will also trigger :hover, :active and :focus styles in IE.

Interesting to note that DD_belatedPNG solves both issues addressed by Whatever:hover and TwinHelix's IE PNG Fix with pure JavaScript, while Whatever:hover and TwinHelix's IE PNG Fix use a combination of JavaScript and IE attached behaviors (.htc files).

And a few resources identifying IE rendering issues you're most likely to encounter, along with their most common fixes:

9 Most Common IE Bugs and How to Fix Them
Ultimate IE6 Cheatsheet: How To Fix 25+ Internet Explorer 6 Bugs

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One answer I don't see very often is expectation management in conjunction with graded support. We have reached a point where, as a generalization, IE6 users are aware their browser is out of date but for various reasons are unable to upgrade. So the question shifts from one of education to a much better one for us - to what degree to these users understand and expect the web to be broken for them?

Based on my experience, there is a general expectation among these users that web sites will not work at 100%. So the first half of battle is in our favor. For the remainder, we can take a graded-support approach. It helps to make a grid of "function or aesthetic" x "IE6 effort" and present that to stakeholders. You can often come up with a viable B-level or C-level grade of support for IE6 users that makes sense for your audience and your stakeholders can live with.

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IE6 is so far behind the other browsers, it's barely worth supporting. The big catch is that you may have to anyway, if you have a large corporate audience, or other situation where that version is still likely to be used.

Besides, IE9 is on the way, and has a third preview edition available now. Once that is available, do you really want to still support IE6? That will be four versions to support. I'd suggest slowly phasing out IE6 support if you can.

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The serious answer is to evaluate your users and customers for what they use, and the traffic and usage patterns for MSIE6 in that. You also need to decide how many is enough, can you make your site work "good enough" for IE6, or do things break down functionally for them. You can consider IE conditional comments for cosmetic things. For functionality problems, you may give your users a warning about when you will shut down IE6 access. You might also use something like ie6-upgrade-warning to give them some alternatives. Be mindful though, that some corporate users won't have enough permission to download and install a new browser, so being a jerk about "get out there and upgrade you lazy bum! your browser is 8 years old!" may turn off your users.

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It is really time to get people to upgrade. If you really want to show people there are other options and that they need to move forward. As Google is even removing IE6 support from their products, it is time we all do the same.

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It all depends on your target audience. Will the people you are building your site for expect IE6 to work? Will they be put off if it doesn't? I would suggest using customer focused decision making on questions like this rather than technical. Get to know your customers and plan accordingly.

That said, statcounter notes that:

IE6 Falls Below 5% for First Time in
US and Europe However, globally
he suggested that web designers were
not out of the woods yet. "If your
target market is Asia then IE6 still
has 20.8% usage. IE8 has only just
overtaken it in Asia." Africa also
continues to have high levels of usage
of IE6.

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Thats a good question, asked hundreds of times... Andy Clark says it best

Design for better browsers, then design alternative solutions to handle IE6 bugs
Write a remedial IE6 stylesheet to address layout issues
Use JavaScript to bootstrap CSS support in IE6
Make your site look exactly the same in IE6 as in any other browser
Develop to better browsers and spend no development time or testing for IE6
Block IE6 users from seeing your site's styles

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It completely depends on your user base. In my line of work we support local councils so we have to maintain IE6 support as their computers are generally out of date and won't be upgraded for some time. If you are developing for a cutting edge audience however, then IE6 support will be less necessary.

It is advised to make the website usable in IE6 by letting it degrade certain "unsupported" features gracefully. Just remember, dropping IE6 support will affect someone out there... it just depends whether you care or not.

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