4th January 2011

IE6 – Let’s Play Nicely, Shall We?

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IE6 browser

It’s well documented that Internet Explorer 6 isn’t exactly the most popular browser in the world. There are even internet campaign sites, such as bringdownie6.com, deathtoie6.com and iedeathmarch.org to name just 3 examples. Whilst these are noble campaigns, and I for one support the abandonment of Internet Explorer 6 (and to a lesser extent all Internet Explorer browsers) I think it’s very naive of people to completely drop support for IE6, and even worse to look down on those who use it.

Let’s drop some fact knowledge

IE6 still has a 4.5% global browser share, which might seem pretty small but is still significant. Imagine giving a talk to 100 people, and completely ignoring 4 people, and being 50/50 on one other person. If you saw that talk, you wouldn’t be impressed by the speaker. Most of this 4.5% are forced to use Internet Explorer 6 because that’s the browser of choice on their work computer, and sadly they have no option to use any other browser. I would imagine that not many people have IE6 on their home computer, and if they do, then they probably don’t use the web enough to warrant upgrading.

“If you’re using IE6, you’re an idiot”

Many sites target IE6 users with a friendly reminder to upgrade their browser, including Google and Amazon. This is the way I think it should be. A simple popup or warning message telling users that their browser is unsafe, outdated, holding back the web. That’s all you need really.

What I don’t like seeing is people who force their own website to crash when viewed in IE6, or being rude to the user just because their browser is old. As mentioned before, most of the time it’s not their fault they’re on such a bad browser so don’t go around calling them an idiot. Going back to the talk analogy I made earlier, if you had the 100 people and then shouted at 4 people and told them to leave the room immediately, the other 96 would probably be a little cautious for the rest of the talk. Those 4 people also aren’t going to come see you ever again.

I’m not pro-IE6

I don’t like Internet Explorer 6. I wouldn’t go as far as to say I hate it, but I’ve certainly been close at times. But I also don’t like decaffeinated coffee, and I wouldn’t dream of going in to Starbucks and seeing someone with a decaf mocha and insult them.

With the web so saturated with hundreds of millions of websites, surely it makes more sense to be inviting and friendly to all your potential customers or readers rather than insulting them.