Why are you wasting your time for Internet Explorer?


I don’t consider myself a pro web designer, not even close to that but I wanted to share my opinion about the never-ending war between the web designer community (especially CSS) and Internet Explorer. I would also like to hear what others think about this.

Whenever I visit the forum, I see many new threads about IE issues. It is the same on other web design forums as well. My observation is that a lot of web designers are trying really hard, spending a lot of time and effort to satisfy IE 8, IE 7 or even IE 6. I stopped worrying about older browsers a long time ago because it simply doesn’t make sense to me to waste my precious time trying to make my website look the same on all available browsers. As long as the functionality is not broken, I would never spend a minute worrying about “how my website will look on IE 6”.

Really, I don’t think the people who are still using IE 7, 6 or even the older versions give a sh.t about how a website looks. If they did, they would have upgraded their browsers long time ago. Even if you make the perfect site that will look the same on all web browsers, that will be meaningless to the visitors.

So, what is your reason for spending your valuable hours on IE? You see this as a challenge? You are perfectionist? You have huge traffic from older IEs? I really would like to hear opinions on this, maybe there is something that I am not aware of.

Because I make sites for people to use.

IE6/7 aren’t as important these days, but if you don’t at least support IE8,9 that’s just lazy and unprofessional.
It’s part of the job and it’s easier than it’s ever been before.

Ahem, yes, and that’s mainly why we have to check the sites in IE. You can’t call yourself a web designer and not at least make sure the site works acceptably in IE, at least back to version 8. (I don’t check 7 or 6 any more, admittedly).

Most posts here about problems in IE are not related to the site looking exactly the same in IE, but about the site working at all in that skunk of a browser that half the world still chooses to use. :slight_smile:

For me making a site work in IE browser exactly the same as in other browsers is a challenge that I love to take!
1.) It throws even the slightest error that I have made in the code!
2.) It makes you learn everything more in detail, so that you know whatever you do the best!

At my office, our stats tell us that there are still a significant number of IE7 users, so yes, we make an effort to make sure our pages look right for them, as well as people on IE8/9/FF/Chrome/Opera.

I remember not that long ago when someone told me, “Everyone uses IE, so that’s the only thing worth bothering to check pages on”. It didn’t take long for that to no longer be the case, and had we only designed for one browser, we’d have a lot of fixing to do now.

And if you sell a product? Then you DEFINITELY have to design for all browsers, otherwise your customers are going to buy from a competitor.

Statcounter puts the global market share for IE7 at 1.28% and the USA share at 1.77% for July 2012. That number is dropping every month. I decided that for any personal sites I work on in the future I will no longer support IE7 (I stopped supporting IE6 back in late 2009). I’m not even going to bother trying to test in IE7 anymore, as I no longer have that browser on a computer and am not going to spend hours trying to get my computer to virtualize Windows XP so I can test in a browser almost nobody uses any more. Even if I was selling stuff, I still wouldn’t bother supporting IE7 with less than 2% of users using it.

On the largest traffic site I’m part of (12,000 monthly uniques during the summer, more during the other months), just under 1.5% of my visitors were using IE7 in July 2012. Supporting that outdated 2006 browser just isn’t worth the time or headaches.

Most of my clients are happy to ignore IE6 these days and just have IE7 workable. IE8+ is still a necessity and to be honest IE8 isn’t really that bad -especially when you’ve worked with ie6 for ten years or so.

If you’ve been brought up with IE6 then its not that hard to fix and all the main bugs are documented thoroughly but I seldom even look at ie6 these days as I know what it will look like anyway:)

You do need to base the decision on your stats because if you were working in China and you ignored IE6 you’d lose all your customers.

We’re at close to 20% IE7 according to our own stats. Keep in mind that this is a government agency, and a large percentage of our viewers are other government agencies (federal, state, and local), many of whom are still trapped on IE7. In fact we were trapped on IE6 until 2010, and just got 8 last fall.

it simply doesn’t make sense to me to waste my precious time trying to make my website look the same on all available browsers.

That’s a question of aesthetic importance. I find it best to think in terms of progressive enhancement of content style. Even as an art director… I will thing of visual degradation. That is if my design doesn’t get rounded corner or a few gradients , animations or transitions for browsers that are 4 years old… then that’s to be expected ( for a few extra $$ I will add polyfills).

Basically the effort is to not have the BASIC layout/readability break in IE ( or other older browsers) this should be part of one’s professional pride, and not actually a burden.

I believe that well over 30% of all browsers which surf the web are Internet Explorer. Last time I checked my analytics some 10% of that was below IE8. You can’t just neglect such a large group of people, take into account many companies and universities have IE installed by default, heck many companies are still using XP for thousands of machines.

Besides I find Internet Explorer is great for error checking. If you load a web page in IE and it looks like a dead cabbage you know you’ve made a mistake somewhere :wink:

Well I can’t speak for anyone else (and I’m just a beginner) but . . . the reason I would want the page to be cross-browser compatible is my fundamental respect for anyone gracious enough to visit me in the first place: My visitor is always right imho. I’m just so grateful they stumbled upon me in the first place the last thing I want to do is issue a value judgment on their choice of browser.


IE9 renders almost identically with other browsers and so isn’t really an issue at all.

The biggest difference with IE8 is a few things that affect the appearance (such as rounded corners). Basically nothing that will interfere with usability.

It is only when you get back to IE7 that you start to find a few things that don’t work (such as CSS tables).

There are a few things in JavaScript that IE7 and IE8 don’t support as well (since they really rin jScript rather than JavaScript) but you can easily take care of most of those with feature sensing. There are just a few of the latest JavaScript commands that have no equivalent for IE7 or 8.

Just getting my feet wet with “Mobile First” design, and am finding a huge advantage vis-a-vis old IE. Just making a few changes to the basic, single column mobile design I can satisfy IE 6 and 7 users with content, and not having to worry about the quirks!

I agree with Stephen’s comments about JavaScript - you probably want to reduce reliance on scripting for old IE as it is sloooooow, especially on computers over five years old, where those old versions of IE likely reside.

Yes, that’s a pretty compelling approach these days, as long as clients will accept it. What do you do for IE8, though, which doesn’t understand media queries?

Obviously I don’t have a definitive answer for that. But it seems to me we are blessed with much better tools these days.

I’m looking at build tools like CodeKit in conjunction with Sass, LESS, and so on. I don’t think you really need media queries for IE 8. AFAICT older IE is not much of a presence on smaller devices, if any. Presenting older IE with a combined stylesheet from the narrow to intermediate widths should satisfy just about all situations where that browser is used. If I understand it correctly, you can use some of these build tools to do that, without relying on media queries.

Of course, I need to test these ideas out with a practical design. So I may live to eat my words. But I think that Sir Tim’s vision of universal access is achievable. Just don’t expect to get the equivalent of a 42" HD TV experience on a black-and-white portable TV. :slight_smile:

THIS! you have to cater to every audience.

Recent live research showed that there are still 10-20% users with old versions (pre-vista) of IE. Ignoring them is ignoring up to 20% of the market.
It may be hard to imagine for i.t. savy people, but there is a lot of folk out there that don’t want to spend money on a new computer/software when their existing gear does exactly what they want it to do.
Then there are people that hated Vista, and made a conscious effort to buy a new box without the dredged thing on it and stuck an old xp version on it. I am one of those.

I’ve been finding that some javascript libraries and their various plugins tend to lock up and/or crash IE6.

So, I’ve been using a combination of IE conditionals and jQuery’s browser version detection to prevent IE6 from running the plugins/scripts it chokes on.

I know everyone had their own personal opinions which is fine but I find that not developing for IE6 saves a lot of time and saves myself from re-occurring headaches to which there seems to be no end, if a client requests IE6 support then that’s fine in my view as the scope of work would just need to indicate the features that won’t work in the ancient browser. In saying that if you’re not supporting IE7 you have a big problem as there are still thousands upon thousands of users that still use it as their primary browser, a current client we have at my workplace has around 25% of all visits from IE7 users on Windows XP/Vista/7 so there is no reason why you can’t make the site work to an extent in IE7.

I’m not saying that my experiences should be taken literally as I have to develop around specific guidelines but at home I always think about giving everyone a fair experience even if it means no rounded corners or box shadows in browsers that don’t support CSS3 as at the of the day the content appeals to a user more than the design itself.

Agreed. I think our greatest problem is explaining to clients why their site cannot look the same on all browsers and devices. A little easier now there are so many different devices, but still hard to explain for the desktop version.

As far as techniques go, you may find this approach useful: http://nicolasgallagher.com/mobile-first-css-sass-and-ie/