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  1. #1
    SitePoint Zealot supermighty's Avatar
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    When would you drop support for a web browser?

    I was thinking about 37Signals dropping IE6 support and wondered at what traffic percentage would it be ok to drop support for a browser. In the artical they don't give a specific number they just say a small minority use IE6.

    At the university where I work we only have about 16% of all visitors using IE6, but the boss said we still have to test in it. Isn't 16% enough to ditch it?

    What percentage of visitors using a bad/old browser would be your threshold before you stopped supporting that browser?
    Supermighty's blog: Debian Virtualbox for local web development.
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  2. #2
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy bluedreamer's Avatar
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    That question always sparks a debate!

    I'd say 16% is still a significant amount and not to be ignored - if it was 1% however I'd say the risk in dropping support was negligable.

  3. #3
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    Jeremy Keith's The IE6 Equation contains some of the best thoughts on this debate. If you haven't read it, I'd start there.

  4. #4
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Tailslide's Avatar
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    Personally? When it drops below 1%. For most things it's not that hard to get IE6 looking the same.

    Then again "support for" does not have to mean looks 100% the same - "works well in" seems good enough to me.
    Little Blue Plane Web Design
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  5. #5
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    16% and you're wondering whether or not to continue to support it?

    Let's put it into "perspective".

    Four out of every twenty five visitors is using that version.
    Compare that to the "estimated" sales conversion of 3 - 5 percent
    of many products being sold online (and that's being generous).
    That's one out of twenty five, and those "sales sites" are all over!

    I don't know the percentages, but I'm one who still uses FF2
    because at first glance at FF3, I didn't like it. The latest update
    for FF2 states that it is the last planned update. Many folks I've
    asked suggest getting used to FF3.

    I'd say that 16% is not an insignificant number, and agree with
    bluedreamer, that until the number drops a bit more, continue
    testing with IE6.

    I rarely use IE7, and that's only when there appears to be
    non-functionality for FF2 on certain web pages...

    Be Well!
    ECS Dave

  6. #6
    SitePoint Wizard gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy dc dalton's Avatar
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    I was just checking this the other day (hoping beyond hope that IE 6 had dropped off the planet) and it was still sitting at 28%.

    I try to cover all of them as best as I can but if I have a tiny little bug or layout problem in a browser version that is under 5% and it's not a 'show stopper' for usage I usually ignore it.

    That being said I completely ignore IE 5.0 & 5.5 ... sorry but at this point there's just no patience left in me to bother with them any more.

    Here's hoping IE 6 goes away REAL soon but I'm not holding my breath

  7. #7
    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    There are a number of considerations that make giving a fixed percentage completely meaningless.

    First of all no one stops their web pages from being able to be displayed in a web browser. Someone using any of a range of old browsers should still be able to view web pages, they just wont see it quite the same way that those with modern browsers will. Just how differently the page will appear in various browsers will depend on how far behind the web standards that you are using that the specific browser is. For example if you set up a table in your web page that displays alternate rows in alternate colours then almost no one visiting your page will see that effect because few browsers support that part of CSS3 as yet. That doesn't mean you have stopped supporting all those browsers that don't display the stripes, it just means that you consider that aspect of the page appearance to be minor enough that it doesn't matter that those using browsers that don't support that effect don't see the page quite the same way as those that do support it. As another example related more specifically to IE6 consider suckerfish menus that work entirely from CSS for all browsers commonly in use today except for IE6. As long as the menu that is displayed in IE6 with Active Scripting disabled (as it needs to be in IE6 to get rid of all the ActiveX is turned off error messages that you would otherwise get if you are using IE6 as a web browser instead of as a security hole) is still able to be used to navigate your site, does it really matter that those people don't see the page quite the same way that people using modern browsers do? Does the fact that you can't make a suckerfish menu work on a secured version of IE6 work mean that you shouldn't use suckerfish menus? Does the fact that the J(ava)Script in your web page will only run in IE6 if your visitor hasn't made any effort to plug the 650+ security holes that the browser has which has made their computer accessible to be used as a zombie for launching DoS attacks mean that you shouldn't use J(ava)Script at all or does it just mean that you make sure your page still works without the script even though it may not be as easy to use as it is with the script?

    There are lots of things that IE6 doesn't support that are being regularly used in lots of web pages. Does it mean that none of those pages support IE6 just because people using IE6 don't see any of the features that the page uses that IE6 doesn't support or does it just mean that those using that browser see a simpler not quite so easy to use version of the page and will not even realise that the page would be easier to use if they upgraded to a browser that supportrd the extra features.

    It is impossible to support IE6 fully so that it works identically with other browsers without removing all the dynamic effects from your page completely. Why should the 80% of people using browsers that support those effects miss out on them just because the effects will not work for the other 20% (or will only work if the person allows their computer to be used as a virus repository and DoS and spam source).
    Stephen J Chapman

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  8. #8
    SitePoint Zealot Crey_Design's Avatar
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    From the get go, I pretty much decided that I wasn't going to offer IE6 support. But I make sure that clients understand that. If they insist, I charge extra.

    It sounds corny, but as a web designer and small business owner, I'm a proponent of growth on the web.

    The longer people insist on sticking with old browsers like IE6, the longer web designers and developers will put time to making sites work in them. I want the web to move forward, which means using current technologies.

    Plus I just hate IE.
    Chris Reynolds
    Crey Design
    Arizona Web Design
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