In the recent relaunch of this site
, I created a new custom skin for Subtext. Since this is just a personal site, I threw things together fairly quickly, testing along the way with Firefox3 and IE7. Once I was getting closer to complete, I took a look at my new site in all the usual browsers, including IE6. Ugh, it looked terrible. I gave it some thought and made some decisions about supporting IE6. I'm not going to support it. Not on this site and not on others that I have a say in. I'm not talking about leaving my site unusable for IE6 users - they just won't get as good of an experience. I'm not alone with this decision. Read on to see why I am no longer supporting IE6.
As I mentioned above, I'm not talking about leaving the site inaccessible or unusable for IE6 users. I completely understand that there are many corporate machines that are held back by IT restrictions & policies where IE6 is the only choice. I'm not talking about making my sites inaccessible to these users, or even those who just don't upgrade due to their own ignorance. However, I'm just going to choose to no longer dumb-down my sites to support them. They'll be able to access my sites. They just won't have as good of an experience.
I know that this sort of decision cannot be made about all sites. It's a smart idea for major public sites to be able to fall back to IE6 support if needed. Most of my sites are focused on the developer, either in the form of a blog or a community site. Knowing that this is my audience I feel completely justified in not supporting IE6 and focusing only on more current browsers. When redesigning my new site, I intentionally used PNG images with transparencies among other things that I knew wouldn't look cool for IE6 users. I'm OK with that. I don't think that is me being "elitist" or anything, again the audience for this site is developers - although there is still a disturbing percentage of the traffic that is using IE6.
Letting IE6 Users Know What They Are Missing
OK. As I mentioned, IE6 users can still read everything on this site. Things are way too spaced apart and many dividers are not where they are supposed to be, but things are still quite readable. I don't want these users thinking that this is how my site is supposed
to look. Come on, that would be embarrassing. Instead of fixing it however, I've decided to add a little item to the header area of the page to let them know that "I know the site looks like crap, it's because of your
Users who come to this site using IE6 will see the above and can come read more on this post. I'm completely on-board with Mad Kristensen's post creating better experiences for your visitors
, I'll just be focusing on creating a better experience for the users with more modern browsers.
What's Wrong With IE6?
This is a development blog, so I shouldn't have to explain this to anyone here, but off top of my head (this is a small part of a very large list):
How Long Will Developers Have to Continue Supporting IE6?
- Lack of support for current standards for HTML markup, CSS, etc
- Support for non-standard features not compatible with other browsers
- No PNG transparency support
- Released in 2001, we've completely moved beyond everything about IE6. This is a browser that PC World rated one of the worst tech products of all time.
At some point, we'll all have to be OK with putting and end to adding support for IE6 in our sites. 37Signals dropped support for IE6 in their products
last Friday, Aug 15th. I've decided that for my sites, the time is now as well.
If you'd like to end supporting IE6 in your sites as well, all you have to do is focus on developing for newer browsers. Let the site suck for IE6 users IMO. To let them know that "you know it sucks and they should upgrade", SaveTheDevelopers.org
Say No To IE 6!
Our current campaign focuses on assisting users in upgrading their Internet Explorer 6 web browser. This campaign will result in former IE 6 users having a more enjoyable experience on the web while (hopefully) creating a less stressful and complicated environment for web developers by hastening the retirement of an outdated browser.
OK. Enough for me. I'm sold. No more support for IE6 from me. IE6 users, sorry. You can still use my sites, they just won't look as nice. As a consolation prize, you will at least get to see my cool "Eek IE6!" message.