Normally a SO browser but this question doesn't fit there, hopefully it fits here.

I just want to ask from web designers' point of view if it's wrong to not care about supporting Internet Explorer or older browsers.

The site I'm designing looks great in all browsers except IE9-. There are certain things that IE doesn't support or behave like other browsers; webkit stuff, some CSS styles, drop-and-drop files from OS etc etc, but it all works great in Safari, FireFox, Chrome etc.

Should I be that concerned? I know there are several people that use IE, but it's limitations have just been causing me more work by having to come up with workarounds. From what I've read, many of the issues I've been having should be solved with IE10, but not everybody keeps up to date. I know of several people who are still using IE6!

Again, I'm hoping this is the right place to ask a question like this, and if not, please point me to the right stack exchange site instead of just downvoting me.


EDIT: Upon further research....

So far this year, IE(all versions) and Chrome have been neck and neck as the top, with IE only squeaking by Chrome, and FireFox a close 3rd. But looking at the top 10 browsers, IE6 doesn't even show up on this list in which the lowest percentage is 1.92%.

Source : http://www.w3counter.com/globalstats.php?year=2012&month=7

Having a look at this other site, IE6 shows up in 11th place out of 12, just before "Other"


This makes me a little more wary of not spending more time on IE compatibility. However, my site will not be going to a live beta until October or November, and I'm hoping that IE10 will have more features coded into it.

Currently, I've written my upload page which is a "drag-and-drop files from the OS" type to simply display "IE is not supported", leaving no other option for IE users to upload pictures because I've spent so much time writing the uploader which does many things other than just upload the files. I will be changing this kinda cold "Access Denied" to a suggestion to upgrade, or install other browsers, with download links for each.

Big thanks for the posts here and the interesting links!

  • 2
    Besides various points below, Ajax more or less came from IE, and jQuery specifically works to eliminate much of the JS differences between browsers. If those things aren't working properly, it's quite possibly you doing something wrong.
    – Su'
    Aug 30, 2012 at 15:37
  • 1
    I don't think anyone's asked whether IE should be supported, but for supporting IE6 - see webmasters.stackexchange.com/questions/134/…. Aug 30, 2012 at 16:00
  • @Su' Yeah the AJAX mention was just part of ramblings, thinking about it now, I don't think anything AJAX is not working properly except for the parts that call up HTML from PHP which gets formatted incorrectly because of other problems. Edited!
    – Delorean
    Aug 30, 2012 at 19:52
  • Also edited to change the title to "Is it FAIR..." instead of "Is it WRONG...". Sounds more appropriate I think since it's not really wrong.
    – Delorean
    Aug 30, 2012 at 19:53
  • I have a few reasons for closing this: 1. the answers to this question are (imho) very similar to the answers in the duplicate question 2. fairness is really a matter of opinion, and questions that involve opinion can't really be answered (which is why people are answering your question like you asked whether you should support old browsers) 3. I think that your question is a subset of the duplicate question and could probably be answered there (e.g. "you should support IE because it's fair to users").
    – user6901
    Aug 30, 2012 at 21:40

3 Answers 3


An escalator can never break, it can only become stairs. -Mitch Hedberg

You should take a look at the concept of progressive enhancement:

Progressive enhancement uses web technologies in a layered fashion that allows everyone to access the basic content and functionality of a web page, using any browser or Internet connection, while also providing an enhanced version of the page to those with more advanced browser software or greater bandwidth.

Progressive Enhancement 2.0, a YUI Theatre talk by Nicholas Zakas (formerly of Flickr) will give you a good overview.

Of particular importance to you is the section near 15:36, the bottom line being that you do not need to have identical experiences in all browsers. I think you are right not to spend tonnes of time implementing identical extra functionality in legacy browsers: give them a good experience, but don't triple your development time to provide them an identical experience.

It's natural that your webkit styles won't work because webkit is a layout engine implemented in Chrome and Safari, while mozilla (i.e., moz-) is used in Firefox, and IE uses its own, but that doesn't matter, because nobody will notice missing rounded corners. There are polyfills that will help you, like cssFx.js .

It sounds, though, like important functionality may be broken in your IE9 implementation (why don't AJAX calls work? They're supported in IE6...).

  • 1
    Very interesting! While I agree that a site shouldn't be optimized for the latest and greatest thing out there all the time, I do think that if ONE of those browsers is lagging far behind the rest of the pack, that it becomes less important to support, like firing a REALLY slow worker :P And the whole point is indeed to stop wasting time accommodating the odd one out.
    – Delorean
    Aug 30, 2012 at 16:05
  • 1
    One thing that struck me about his talk (as well as Stephen Woods') was was the almost every one of your users uses only one browser, and that it's only the developers that check it in a bunch of browsers. yuiblog.com/blog/2012/02/23/video-stephen-woods-html5-touch
    – msanford
    Aug 30, 2012 at 16:25
  • 1
    "Progressive Enhancement 2.0" is an excellent video thanks for the link !
    – danie7LT
    Aug 30, 2012 at 18:22
  • @msanford True, but not really fair to say that almost ever user uses one browser. For example, at home I use FireFox, but at work I'm forced to use IE9 (Not allowed to install other browsers). And I'm sure I'm not the only one. I've also switched a few times IE>FF>Safari>Chrome>FF. On my mobile (Windows Phone 7.5) I use IE as well since I don't really have a choice but it works very well and I plan to create a separate "m." mobile site with a much simpler and mobile-friendly interface.
    – Delorean
    Aug 30, 2012 at 19:50
  • 1
    @msanford Your answer accepted. I really liked your thoughts and the links you posted were very interesting. I will try to lean towards this progressive enhancement 2.0 while balancing my time spent on a particular browser. Cheers!
    – Delorean
    Aug 31, 2012 at 6:24

It really depends on your intended audience. But cutting out IE entirely is a massive market share!

A commercial website should at least support IE8 (in some form) and later and degrade gracefully in older browsers. With progressive enhancement you should be able to support a fair range of browsers to some extent.

For e-commerce sites where you are getting the majority of your income via your website then it needs to "work" on everything you think visitors might be using.

  • Well, I wouldn't say I'm "cutting it out", but I'm no longer going out of my way to ensure IE compatibility. For the most part, it works as intended except for some of the looks, the drag-and-drop file from OS functionality, and the ability to select multiple files to upload. For now, IE users would have to select one file at a time to upload. If IE10 works like it does on other browsers, I might replace the "Not supported by your browser" marked sections with a recommendation to upgrade to IE10...
    – Delorean
    Aug 30, 2012 at 16:01
  • 1
    "compatibility" is different from "functionality and looks". Sites don't have to look and work the same in all browsers for it to be compatible. If IE doesn't support mutli-file upload then that's just tough for IE users. If they can still upload (one by one) then they are still supported and your site is compatible. However, if multi-file upload was a specific requirement for your site and necessary for it's running then you would probably have to go out of your way to support IE more.
    – MrWhite
    Aug 30, 2012 at 16:18

This is not wrong and this is not good.

I think it really depends on people who are going to visit the website you're designed. If you can ahve this information.

For example, if you are designed a tech website (a blog, a forum or what ever), you are almost sure that 90% of people will have Chrome 20+, Firefox 14+ or Safari 5.

If you are design an ecommerce website, it could be perilous (also it depends on what you are selling), but you are going to reach people that are less techy. Browser version won't be very up to date and you will have more IE browser.

And if you build an internal website for a company, you will definitively have to focus on the main browser of the company. It could be IE 7 (argh) or Firefox 10 (as in my company).

Finally, you can still display a little overlay bar or something else if the user has an old browser version telling him its experience won't be the best.

  • Yes I was just mentioning in my other comment about recommending a browser upgrade once IE10 comes out. And FYI, this will be a social/news/photo/sharing site, and that does worry me since EVERYBODY jumps on the train because it's not specific to any genre.
    – Delorean
    Aug 30, 2012 at 16:08

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