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  1. #1
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    Question to site owners: why not drop support for IE6?

    A bit of the old, a bit of the new regarding this topic...


    While I think all of us agree that when we provide our services to our clients, we should make their sites IE6-compatible, that same sort of professional responsibility isn't necessarily passed on to ourselves.

    Point is: If we own the site, we have the right/option to simply drop IE6 support, and inform the visitor that a) they are using a browser that is most probably older than their pet, b) that they are exposing themselves to a host of security problems, and that c) their browser is preventing them from experiencing some modern technology *ahem*, and that they will only be experiencing a small taste of what the website has to offer *ahem*.

    The reason I say this is: if we, as site owners, start making the effort to gently prod/push/encourage casual visitors, little by little, people would be inclined to upgrade/download and install Opera/Firefox. After about a year of two (ok, maybe about half a decade) of this kind of gentle prodding, we may just see IE6's numbers in the lower 10's of the browser percentages.

    What do you think?

  2. #2
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Black Max's Avatar
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    Won't happen unless someone like Google gets on board with the push. (Edit: Not even then.) Too many people run IE6 and won't be convinced by your (or any) arguments. They'll just see it as an opaque argument that makes no sense, and will ignore it (and the site, most likely). They'll get rid of IE6 when they buy a new computer with a more updated browser installed.

    Sorry, I agree with you in theory, but unless you like tilting at windmills, this isn't an argument you're likely to enjoy having with the world....

  3. #3
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    According to w3schools browser statistics page, 28.9% of people use IE6, that's too large a % of users for any site to ignore.

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    SitePoint Zealot c.t.c.'s Avatar
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    IE6 just needs to run its course. Microsoft's natural upgrade and support cycle will eventually move almost all IE users to a newer version. I decide on a site by site basis whether or not to support each version of IE based on projected return on investment.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by c.t.c. View Post
    I decide on a site by site basis whether or not to support each version of IE based on projected return on investment.
    Yes, this is exactly what I mean.

    We've got two in-house projects in the works - one is aimed at the general market, and one is aimed at the youth market. The latter one is where we're deciding whether or not to drop development work for IE6 - basically code it straight for Opera, Firefox, and Safari, then provide reasonable development time for IE7.

    Now, based on my experience and observations, the "browser stats" aren't really what they're cracked up to be.

    One thing I noticed when checking my clients' site stats are that there are certain sites that "attract" users of certain browsers. E.G. Websites that have a more general purpose, such as e-commerce websites, attract a lot of casual (e.g. IE) users, while more net-savvy sites, say, like Muxtape and Scrapblog would attract, in a large scale, Firefox/Opera/Safari users.

    So my question is: As site owners, and more importantly, as business folk with an intended target demographic - do you feel that you must always allocate development time/cost for Internet Explorer if it only makes up a small percentage of your market?

  6. #6
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    Not everyone has upgraded to IE7.0 as I have some friends who still uses simply because they are not internet savvy as I am. I think there are still large numbers of people who still in the IE6 phase and it would benefit those websites that still support IE6.0.
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  7. #7
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Black Max's Avatar
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    Unless you're designing for a very specific user base, I don't see how you can avoid coding for IE6 no matter how annoying and time-consuming it can be. The Holly hack lives for a while longer....

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    I guess if your user analysis for a particular site shows that the vast majority will NOT use IE6 then you may have valid reasons for not supporting it. For most sites though, I would say that the percentage of IE6 users is still too high to ignore altogether.

    I work in a fairly large organisation that is currently rolling out new pcs but still with IE6, so all the users are stuck with this browser and I'm sure there are many large organisations where the upgrade to IE7 will be a long and slow process.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Black Max View Post
    Unless you're designing for a very specific user base, I don't see how you can avoid coding for IE6 no matter how annoying and time-consuming it can be. The Holly hack lives for a while longer....
    I agree to what you've said entirely, but (there's a but), have a look at this site:

    http://www.ecodazoo.com/

    Aside from that site being unbelievably jaw-dropping (try to find the book-flipping area and move the view around, you'll see what I mean) , I have to assume a few things:

    1) It's using AS3 (Actionscript 3) to use Papervision 3D
    2) AS3 is only compatible with the latest Flash players
    3) Not everyone has upgraded their Flash to the latest versions

    Now, If you look at who built that site, it wasn't by some small company - it's by McCann Erickson Japan. Obviously no small fry.

    My point is: If McCann-Erickson, a world-class company, are happy to shoulder the loss of a certain market (older Flash users), is it professionally questionable for us to do the same with regards to IE6 users - not with regards to a service to clients (as we regularly provide), but as site owners ourselves.

    I mean: is it unprofessional for us to intentionally alienate certain users in order for us to deliver a far superior experience to another group of users?

    ::EDIT:: I guess you could almost call it the web equivalent of user-focused direct marketing.

  10. #10
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    You can ignore whatever users you want to on your own site(s).

    But if you're developing sites for clients, you need to make sure they understand the trade-offs involved and the potential loss of traffic their site will experience if they don't accommodate IE6 users.

  11. #11
    Internet Toughguy Kevin Boss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sonjay View Post
    You can ignore whatever users you want to on your own site(s).

    But if you're developing sites for clients, you need to make sure they understand the trade-offs involved and the potential loss of traffic their site will experience if they don't accommodate IE6 users.
    This is a great answer!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Boss View Post
    This is a great answer!
    Thanks. But you know what? I just re-read the original post, and that's pretty much exactly what the OP was saying. He acknowledged that while we have responsibilities toward our clients, we should have the freedom to handle our own sites however we want. So I guess I was simply agreeing with the OP.

  13. #13
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    Our website should have backward compatibility and IE6 though old but its not a decade old like IE4 or earlier. People in under developed countries do use older browsers and they could be potential suppliers or customers for site owners, so I wont join the league of discontinuation for ie6 support.

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    SitePoint Zealot Acquiesce's Avatar
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    Is a good idea in theory (so was communism), but I agree with what an earlier poster said in that it would need backing by a big name like Google or W3C.

    You'd also need to remember that the sites you are building for the clients maybe targetting other companies. It's not as easy for these companies to go out and replace their systems with ones that have newer browsers and may not have the time to ensure all their employers have upgraded from IE6.

    It would also need to be explained to normal web users why they should upgrade. Simply stopping supoprt for IE6 will just makes these users look at a site, go "this site is all over the place and looks rubbish" and go to a rival one instead, without asking themselves why it looked rubbish and realising that it is in fact the cr4ppy browser they are using.

    Eventually IE6 will dwindle out of the market, but until there becomes a time when it is a real minority in the browser market, hacks/late nights/constant banging of keyboards for web developers, are here to stay!!

  15. #15
    SitePoint Zealot Acquiesce's Avatar
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    In addition to the above, clients that are web savvy and realise the need for IE6 support will compare a designer that does offer it against one that doesn't. No prizes for guessing which one they'll eventually go with, which reinforces the point that it'll need to be an everyone or no-one approach to the whole issue.

  16. #16
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    You guys aren't reading the first post properly. Read it again.

  17. #17
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Black Max's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by XLCowBoy View Post
    I mean: is it unprofessional for us to intentionally alienate certain users in order for us to deliver a far superior experience to another group of users?
    In general, yes. There will be exceptions, but they will be very small and very narrowly focused. This is, of course, my opinion.

    Quote Originally Posted by XLCowBoy View Post
    You guys aren't reading the first post properly. Read it again.
    I think the posters are following your argument quite well. They're just moving past the parameters of your original post, as is wont to happen in discussions of this sort. And while this community is generally quite forgiving, there are those who might not appreciate the implication that their reading and comprehension skills aren't up to par Just a cautionary word.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Black Max View Post
    I think the posters are following your argument quite well. They're just moving past the parameters of your original post, as is wont to happen in discussions of this sort.
    The problem is that if we continue covering the "you should your clients IE6 compatible-websites", we'll never get past that.

    While I agree that, in general, the posts have followed the topic quite well, everyone reverts back to the "your clients should..." statement.

    But that's the point - YOU are your own client here, and the question(s) are: why not drop IE6 support if the cost of supporting it outweighs the benefits? And in doing so, are we being elitist, or not?

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by XLCowBoy View Post
    We've got two in-house projects in the works - one is aimed at the general market, and one is aimed at the youth market. The latter one is where we're deciding whether or not to drop development work for IE6 - basically code it straight for Opera, Firefox, and Safari, then provide reasonable development time for IE7.
    Just because your targeting a youth oriented market... Does not mean they are any more computer savvy then the general market...* I find that there are as many young people who don't know the darnest thing about computers (as much as their older counterparts) the only difference is, the youths aren't afraid of pressing the power button to see what happens...

    *And to get back to my original point: If your going to use lots of technology that requires the latest updates; then you will not be targeting the Youth market... but rather the youth market that like to follow trends and have the latest and greatest in terms of their computer... Which might or might not be your intended audience...
    Please...Never describe anything to me using foo and bar.

  20. #20
    From space with love silver trophy
    SpacePhoenix's Avatar
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    Your target market of youth might not have much cash so be using older machines which could very well have ie6 (or even 5.5 - depending on the OS being used) installed on them.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpacePhoenix View Post
    Your target market of youth might not have much cash so be using older machines which could very well have ie6 (or even 5.5 - depending on the OS being used) installed on them.
    Having lived in the UK, I actually do know what you mean.

    Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your take) - the site isn't aimed at that market.

    Besides... I think it would fairly safe to basically say: Youth = Firefox / High Powered Gaming Windows PC / Safari / Apple, and occasionally, the odd Opera / Ubuntu user.

    Annoyingly though, the more complex site is the one that needs to be IE6-friendly.

  22. #22
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    Alot of nontech adults or elderly don't know anything and I mean anything about web browsers they just use their windows 98 machine from 10 years ago. If your audience is a tech-savy crowd then I saw your okay not supporting ie6. So unless microsoft creates a patch with disables ie6 (which would never happen) we have to shoot for older browers. Or some major breakthrough happens like the whole switching from analog to digital tv thing, haha.


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