Goodbye IE6


For the last few months I have noted on average across my clients sites that IE6 has now slipped to below 40%.   Okay this is just a magical number.   But for me it has great significance.   This is the tipping point  for an aging browser on the decline.  At this point it goes from the pixel perfect section on the browser compliance matrix to the section major resemblance.  This is the grey zone between perfection and the old fall back graceful degradation.

What does this mean. Well basically anything in IE6 will not be rendered exactly the same as in the other major browsers (IE7, Firefox, Safari*).   All the visuals will be there.   It’s just little things like minor visual features, layered pngs or some JavaScript functionality will just not be catered for.   Sure I’m still using progressive enhancement with a Hijax overlay to produce a graceful degradation.

Overall IE6 is just slipping away into the old browser bin.   You may say, but others have been doing this for a while.   Yes true, but from  a business realism view point I have had to wait until IE6 was well the truely on the downward spiral.  Sadly this has taken a while.

Interestingly I have been designing sites of late that are pushing the visual representation and functional ability of IE6 anyway.   So maybe subconsciously I have been making this move for a while.  This doesn’t mean I forgetting about IE6.  But it does mean that I’m not focusing on the finer visual representation of my designs in IE6.

It’s not that I hate IE6, well some days I do, it is the bane of my design existence, but it did bring some support for CSS1, DOM, iframes, improved XMLHttpRequest and some SMIL support.  Also remember IE6 was the quirks mode browser degrading the render to IE5.5.   IE6 was the sandbox for many a DHTML project in it’s day, and it served us well for the time.

But let’s remember it was released August 2001 after all it’s  28 internet years old, time for us to move on I think design wise.  Not that 28 is old… oh just forget the age thing and more on…

* – okay I know FireFox and Safari are not major browsers, but they are my design starting point so they stay, understand.

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  1. I wrote just yesterday that I don’t think I can drop support completely for IE6 until it gets to the 1-2% mark. Well, maybe 4-5% 🙂

    Sadly, I think we have a long way to go yet. I’m actually grateful to Microsoft’s security upgrade policies that pushed out IE5 far quicker than we would have seen otherwise. Hopefully IE6 will have the same fate by… oh I dunno, 2012?

  2. @Kay- yeah I saw that post. I’m not dropping support for IE6, more just moving it down a notch. It’s not getting the full attention to detail. But I agree it’s going to be 2011-12 before we can forget about IE6, that’s an entire career space for some people.

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