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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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 In my line of work we support local councils so we have to maintain IE6 support as their computers are generally out of date and won't be upgraded for some time.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.
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.
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:
.htcfile) 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-image, multiple background images, and
linear-gradientas background image.
trueif supported and
falseif not. Adds support for styling and printing HTML5 elements so you can use elements such as
<img />element or as a
background-imageproperty in CSS. Unlike
background-repeatwork as intended, and elements will respond to the
:focusstyles in IE.
And a few resources identifying IE rendering issues you're most likely to encounter, along with their most common fixes:
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
- 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
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.
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.
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.
Checkout http://code.google.com/p/ie7-js/ - It can allow you to use modern features that aren't natively supported by IE
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.