|Is it okay to let IE6 break?|
I say yes, my management disagree.
Been a long time since I posted here last. :)
Anyhow, since Microsoft finally did an automatic push to get IE7 on every desktop with Windows Update, IE6 numbers should be down. In fact, I'm getting reports it is so from multiple sources, with IE6 being down to < 10%, finally.
Now, I don't think there's anyone around here that doesn't hate IE6 with a passion. Or atleast a strong dislike for it. So this should come as good news. I tell the good news to my boss, and finish with "... So from now on I want to put up a 'You're using a buggy and unsupported browser, please upgrade' message for IE6 on all future sites per default."
Needless to say, they weren't too keen on that idea, and thinks I'm crazy. So I've been searching around on the web to see if there's any official statistics to back me up, but couldn't find anything either for or against. So I'm asking you all; is now a good time to finally move on? Or is it still too soon?
[edited by: Wertigon at 12:41 pm (utc) on Mar. 8, 2008]
IE 6.x is still about 1/3 of my traffic.
If you're B2C you're probably looking at at least 25%-30% of visitors still using IE6 (I see this kind of number pretty consistently across some larger sites). IMO it would be insane not to cater for them. In all honesty, it shouldn't be that hard to cater for them either, depending on how your site is constructed.
Of course, you can just check your own logs/stats to see what the impact on your current audience would be.
I think you are crazy :)
Remember you are "into" the web, there are many many people in this world, all with credit cards or the ability of looking and clicking on ads (depending on your business model) that are still using copies of Windows 98, that have no idea of browser versions and would feel insulted visiting your site if you present them with that.
Do you have to make sure your designs are 100% in older browsers, prob not, do they have to be professional looking and usable, absolutely.
One rule that has always served me well, do what is right for the business and user, not what makes your life easier.
|IE 6.x is still about 1/3 of my traffic. |
Well, since the IE7 push was only last month... You still seeing that for this month's traffic?
|Do you have to make sure your designs are 100% in older browsers, prob not, do they have to be professional looking and usable, absolutely. |
100% in agreement. Though my boss seems to want 100% pixel perfect in IE6, while I mandate a phase-out where IE6 is usable, but things like broken PNG images, misplaced elements and so on won't be catered for (as long as it doesn't hinder usability). And above all, make sure that the user understands this by placing a disclaimer text.
[edited by: Wertigon at 2:16 pm (utc) on Mar. 8, 2008]
Disclaimer text is unlikely to be of any use: either people are choosing to use IE6, in which case you just annoy them, or they aren't the type to configure a browser and so quite rightly will not take 'upgrade' instructions from untrusted sources.
The numbers I gave were for this month.
Hmm... True that. There's also the user stuck at a company where they're forced to use IE6. Like some people were forced to use NS4 (and still are).
Then, my next question is; is it okay to not show certain parts of the layout (such as, say, round corners, or certain background images) as long as the site doesn't look broken? So one does a kind of graceful fallback?
|So from now on I want to put up a 'You're using a buggy and unsupported browser, please upgrade'... |
IMO very old skool / not recommended. Along the same lines as, "This site is best viewed at a resolution of..." and "Under Construction" - best not.
I want to be able to view a site (at least access its content and be able to navigate) in any web browsing device I choose, at whatever resolution.
|Then, my next question is; is it okay to not show certain parts of the layout (such as, say, round corners, or certain background images) as long as the site doesn't look broken? So one does a kind of graceful fallback? |
IMHO, yes. Only if IE6 was way down the list in your user stats and the omitted 'parts' were purely decorational and played no part in the sites accessibility/usability. However, bosses/clients tend to have their own idea! The internet is all about the transference of information afterall. If you want pixel perfection then use a PDF!
I do, however, still test primarily for IE6 compliance because of all those "user(s) stuck at a company"....
Of course, it depends a bit what your site offers. If it's a purely informational or non-commercial site then display problems may be less of a worry. For ecommerce, I would see how many sales result from IE6 users and base any decision on that.
I'm with penders on this one, and will add that it has a distasteful undercurrent: you're basically telling the user that if you want to see our site, you have to conform to our standard. It's a **very** bad idea that screams EGO! :-)
As to the title: is it okay to let IE6 break? It really depends on your definition of "break." If you have copy covering up other copy, or the page is an otherwise unintelligible in any way, I say no way.
Your website is your image. So if your site is a train wreck in IE 6, the solution is to tell the visitor they are doing something wrong? No, that's not going to work. :-)
The best thing is always graceful degradation. A few things float out of position, the duplicate characters bug throws a couple extra words at the bottom of your page, the columns don't bottom out evenly - this is graceful degradation and completely acceptable for IE 6 (IMO.)
If I design something that's fine in standards browsers and it completely blows up in IE6, instead of blaming IE 6 I blame myself for taking to fragile or complex of an approach. I revise the structure, or completely scrap it. Starting over is always better than struggling along with a fragile piece for years. Take my advice of experience on that one, I have scars!
I've never pandered to the idea of user percentages. "Well, no one who visits my site uses Macs, so we don't care." Doesn't matter if it's 100% or .01%, if you've ever been on the fringe of anything you know how this feels. At any rate, dig around here, members are always dropping user stats - you'll find that IE6 still has a large share.
When we debate this at work, we turn the question around and ask "how many users are we okay angering in order to save ourselves the grief?" The answer is usually a really low number, and we end up doing the extra work to get everything neat and tidy.
Net-net: if your site is some sort of Firefox/Open Source forum, you might be able to get away with it, but in all other public facing sites it would probably be a web faux pas to tell a customer that he's using a "wrong" browser.
> good time to finally move on? <
Sure, and what the heck. I can't tell you how many websites look terrible in Firefox. That browser probably has a greater share than either IE6 or IE7. And people let THAT break!
Firefox and Opera are just more of a pleasure to test. To build for these is easier. You have to then make corrections for the IE versions, and now separately for each.
One of the things is, Firefox and Opera can run on OS as far back as Win98. For M$ OS, particularly, they provide better support than M$ does. EVERYONE can update to the latest. They are free. I mention, because whatever adds run by Opera are not evident. They are standalone browsers, apps not integrated into the OS or desktop.
IE is part of the current OS. So as M$ 'improves' its OS it also 'improves' IE to suit. So people unwilling to suffer such 'improvements', might end up being stuck with the previous browsers. That's why you seem to have this almost even split between IE6 and 7, right now. A lot of things can bring that on. In flush times, businesses bought. But perhaps in recent years their systems did what was needed, and now they couldn't afford an XP upgrade, let's say. I could see a number of small businesses in that situation. Families with limited budget. And so on. And they all can download the latest Opera and Firefox (unless FF3 becomes incompatible with older M$ OS, particularly).
> 'You're using a buggy and unsupported browser, please upgrade' message for IE6
I'll be happy to upgrade if you buy me a new computer and operating system. Until someone feels compelled to do that, the world will have to deal with the fact users such as myself cannot upgrade to IE7+, because IE7+ isn't supported on Windows 2000. It's 2008 and I still have no reason to upgrade beyond W2K.
Aggregated March numbers for my sites show 83% of visitors using IE. Of that 83%, 43% are using IE6. The sites themselves cover a number of niches, and range from hobby to commercial. YMMV.
When I come across 'Please upgrade/Best viewed in' messages, I can't help but think that the designers' skill set is lacking. And when it comes to those messages on commercial sites when I'm looking to buy, I don't appreciate being told I have to jump through some hoops to give you my money. There is almost always someone else who will help me without telling me to upgrade to something I can't upgrade to.
> The best thing is always graceful degradation.
That statement needs to be tattooed on the forehead of many/most/all webmasters. It's a point that can't be argued.
(As any Browser Evangelist knows, I have a choice in browsers. I just hope they can respect the fact I've made my choice.)
Welcome to WebmasterWorld, chriswo! [webmasterworld.com]
I'm still seeing IE6 as the clear market leader in all of my Asian sites. Some sites still top 50% IE6 users. IE7 use is only around 10-15%. IE5 is still pretty strong here as well. One site had 7% IE5. That still scares me.
|Though my boss seems to want 100% pixel perfect in IE6, while I mandate .... |
Hmmm..., while *I* mandate.
Ask your boss, he would probably be quite happy to set you straight on who issues mandates. Usually the same one who issues the pay packet. It's an inconvenient truth in life that he who has the money is king.
Now, those IE6 users might make the difference between raises all round next year, or layoffs all round.
|I still have no reason to upgrade beyond W2K. |
My primary machine is NT4 :)
My observations are the same as bill's. My Asian website has around 70 percent IE use, of which 51 percent are still using IE6... There are even some visitors still on IE5.5.
Actually, most of my regular visitors are professional expatriates on a good income and they're probably all on flashy new notebooks with the latest software... many of them surf from their workplace however and will often be using older OS and browser combos. Furthermore, there are many hole in the wall internet cafes around Asia that are using very old computers and set ups... this region is very slow to catch up with software.
It would be insanity for me to exclude those users by making my site serve XHTML strict with correct MIME type, for example.
To summarise... 30-40 percent of my visitors are using IE6... SCARY!
[edited by: Asia_Expat at 7:26 am (utc) on Mar. 9, 2008]
I posed this topic in my own forum and this was the first remark made by a regular visitor in Thailand...
'im still using xp2 and ie6, feel comfortable with it, no need to change yet, until i feel like i need to. im fully aware of the new stuff out there.
Ok, you all bring good points. Graceful degradation it is. Thanks for beating me over the head with a blunt object until I got it. I surrender. ;)
Now I just have to talk my stubborn boss into accepting that IE6 will be missing a few visual bits and pieces... (design already works to 95%, so it might be easy enough to do)
Thanks to everyone partaking in the discussion so far. :)
|You're using a buggy and unsupported browser, please upgrade' message for IE6. |
Shouldn't that say?
|Our site was built for IE7+. We're sorry but our designers just included so many hacks in the code that it won't work in IE6, please upgrade your browser or find a site that works in IE6. |
I didn't see too much wrong with IE6 until after the upgrade to IE7. At that point, it was too late. Had to go back and make corrections where appropriate and rethink CSS strategies in some instances. I prefer not to have to implement any hacks to accommodate for any browser issues.
No, it is not okay to let IE6 break. Nor is it okay to ignore Firefox (or other browser) users. If it is breaking in IE6, it is most likely breaking elsewhere.
W3 schools posts browser usage every month.
Google "Browser Statistics", it's the first result.
I would think visitors to that site are mostly developers. So you wouldn't expect them to be visiting on ie6? Unless they are all crazy like me. I'm still on IE6 & FF, because I want to surf and see sites as most people do.
As of February 2008, here is the breakdown for w3s:
When IE6 usage dips below Safari, then I'll upgrade and stop supporting it.
IE7 being forced doesn't mean everyone installed it ...
Just posted on another thread before seeing this one. I'll expand previous comments in this post.
Browser stats on a client e-commerce site thus far in March 2008....
IE7 - 44%
IE6 - 30%
FF2.0 - 18%
Safari 3.0 - 4%
IE6 has been used in 19% of recent conversions. Can we ignore it? No.
A lot of corporate/educational environments have not upgraded to IE7. And, a lot of older computers still run IE6, since that's the latest version that will run on their version of Windows.
IE6 will be around (and necessary to support) for some time to come still ...
Silly ideas.. Letting a site break just because you decided to upgrade your machine. I only run patches for my windows XP sp2 when I feel they will improve my machine. Adding IE7 definitely is not high on my -will I risk crashing windblows again- list.
On my Win2K machine.. I would not know what th browser there is, let alone consider upgrading.
On Thursday I am flying to see my parents, and force them onto a new computer network (some really worried phone calls when a set of machines & network equipment arrived there last week, grin). In any case.. At the moment they run win95 at 560 (?) and 800 px screens. Do you wanna guess their browser? Yes.. Netscape 4.6..
What I am trying to say is.. Many people will not jump through a hoop whenever MS decides to do something. My dad still clicks away the updates he gets for his software: 'I do not trust this stuff from the internet. How can I know that that is not a virus'. And I am sure there is a whole lot of people out there that DO have spending power, but might not want to change their machine. (My parents are terrified of having their machine crash, 'cause they cannot fix it).
Don't ignore the older generation browsers. Period.
|Don't ignore the older generation browsers. Period. |
Let's not get silly. There comes a point where supporting them is not worth the hassle.
Or, do you support IE 1? What about NN 2?
If less than 1% of my visitors use browser X, the time and energy I would have to spend on catering to their needs is really wasteful. That time is better spent providing improved functionality for the 99% of my visitors that actually provide the business.
By upgrade, that kinda includes upgrades to any other browser, not just IE. That's just another reason why the IE line isn't good, it's not compatible with all/most systems.
|I'll be happy to upgrade if you buy me a new computer and operating system. Until someone feels compelled to do that, the world will have to deal with the fact users such as myself cannot upgrade to IE7+, because IE7+ isn't supported on Windows 2000. It's 2008 and I still have no reason to upgrade beyond W2K. |
While you stated your reasoning for not using IE7, a browser which isn't very good either, what is your reasoning for not using Opera or Firefox?
My opinion on degradation for non-compliant browsers (not just old ones, but ones which never followed the standards in the first place!), is to ensure all content is accessible. Positioning, graphical, or layout tweaks should never be necessary for IE6. Not only that, but it's ridiculously annoying when pages are designed with only IE6 in mind.
I find it annoying that people cater so much to IE6, and spend no timer catering to things like variable font sizes, which seems to be the number 1 thing which breaks webpages. I suppose it's cause most people just look at the masses.
> I suppose it's cause most people just look at the masses.<
That, or.. A lot of webdevelopers are not clued in enough to ealize the implacations. (Un)fortunately, there are still a lot of 'home coders'..