Internet Explorer 6 doesn’t even explore anymore. It just kind of stumbles around! It’s time for IE6 to just die already!If you’re reading this and you’re not sure what IE6 is, are fully aware of what it is, or why I’m calling for the death of something, read on…
What is IE6?
Here’s a summary of the basics:
- IE6 is Internet Explorer version 6
- It’s a web browser that allows you to surf the Internet (just in case there are noobs reading this who don’t realize IE6 is bad for us all)
- It was launched on August 27, 2001
- The next version of Internet Explorer 7 (IE7) was released in October 2006 (5 YEARS after IE6)
- The current version is IE8 which was released in March 2009
In technology terms, IE6 is a dinosaur and it’s time for it to go extinct. It was released before the iPhone, the first season of American Idol, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, and 9-11. Let’s face it, this browser is old!
There are several key issues surrounding the IE6 browser. First, a small percentage of people surfing the Internet still use it, most not realizing that it’s completely out of date. These same people visit websites wondering why so many web designs suck but in reality, it’s just their experience using the browser that makes it appear that way. As technology has evolved, so have web design methods and styles, making the user experience more interesting and stimulating, if you’re using an updated browser.
Next, its creator, Microsoft, refuses to end support for it. By continuing to support security updates and adding to it from time to time, and not forcing people to upgrade, the problems will continue indefinitely.
Internet Explorer’s arch enemy is the Mozilla Firefox browser. When Firefox has an update, they operate in the oposite direction, with annoying “update now” messages that appear when you use it. At least, these keep most people up to date. I say most because according to some of the websites I manage, I still see a tiny percentage of people visiting from older versions of Firefox.
Worse for the Web Design Industry
My team and I work very hard to satisfy clients. In doing so, we spend an enormous amount of time getting our “fancy shmancy” websites to look great on many browsers. The problem here is that testing for cross-browser compatibility costs eveyrone involved a lot of money, not to mention an enormous amount of time. Professional testing for how a website looks in IE6 is extremely time consuming and someone has to pay for that time. Given the browser’s low market share, it’s simply not worth it anymore.
Another factor that is an issue for us is that it doesn’t support the many up-to-date CSS features, making web programming more complex than it needs to be.
Perhaps the worst part is that IE6 does not have the ability to properly display transparent PNG images. As such, IE6 users will see big blocks of blank squares on their pages, rather than attractive images. Without knowing better, they’d sooner blame the designer for their poor experience on a website. This certainly cuts into the persuasive part of my Internet success model.
Kill IE6! Microsoft should stop supporting it and force upgrades to the latest version of Windows Internet Explorer.
The Kill IE6 Movement
Governments and the corporate world are starting to take a stand against the continued use of Internet Explorer 6. Here are some of the highlights:
- In January 2010, Google announced that they would no longer support it.
- YouTube which is owned by Google has announced that their support will end soon as well.
- The governments of France and Germany take the issue seriously and have called for the demise of IE6.
How did Microsoft respond to all of this? They’ve extended IE6 Support to 2014! Arg!
What it Means to You
Not much aside from the fact that you’ll have a better browsing experience by not using IE6. If you run a very busy website, you need to look at your stats and consider who’s visiting the site. If you still see a large (“large” is a relative term, I know) amount of visitors still using it, you may want to have a pop-up window telling them to update to IE7 or IE8 (or the “latest version”). Otherwise, you could try to account for IE6 but it’s a losing battle in my opinion.
Most importantly, a better browser experience.