Thursday, 09 June 2011 10:33
I have been asked on many occasions why I do not build or test sites for Internet Explorer 6. I have had many clients that were adamant that their site had to be optimized for IE 6. I try to take the time to find out why this is such an important issue to them. Inevitably, the answer is the same. Either they have a large organization and have not taken the time to upgrade all of their PCs or some important person in their company has an older PC and is still using IE 6.
So I would like to put it to you, should you keep or drop Internet Explorer 6? Here are 10 reasons to drop IE 6:
- Security: there are more than 20 unpatched security threats. [*]
- Outdated: New versions of Internet Explorer have been freely available since July 2005.
- Bugs: There are many know bugs that negatively affect the way web pages are displayed.
- Browser Plugins: Many browser plugins required to view new medias are simply not available for IE 6.
- Popularity: As of 7/2011, IE 6 accounted for 2.3% of browser usage.
- Declining Usage: Based on current trends, IE 6 will account for less than 1% of browsers by the end of 2011.
- Cost: It is FREE to upgrade to a new, better, more secure browser.
- Cost: Yes, I said it twice because it can actually cost you money to keep IE 6. Customizing a website to look and work the same in IE 6, 7, 8 and 9 can cost thousands of dollars. Complaints to webmasters, tech-support and user frustration caused by using an out dated browser can actually cost you time and money.
- Time: Newer versions of IE and other browser have many time-saving features built in. From faster downloads to time saving plugins, newer browser can save your time.
- Support: Microsoft has moved on and their support for IE 6 will end in 2012. The fact that they have unpatched security holes speaks to the fact that they are already pulling back on their support for the browser.
To be fair to both sides, here are the best arguments I have heard for keeping IE 6:
- We have software that will not run on newer versions of Windows or Internet Explorer.
- Our organization is too big to force everyone to upgrade.
If you are locked into using software that prevents you from using a newer browser, chances are you have many other problems that you need to deal with before you website. If your organization is too large to force an upgrade, consider adding a IE 6 detection script that will display a "your browser is out of date" message when someone visits your website. You can even go so far as to deny them access to your site if they are using IE 6, thus forcing them to upgrade.