Yup, I Support IE6. Want to Know Why?

UPDATE: This post has quickly become outdated. Now that I don’t work at an advertising agency, and IE9 has been released, many of my opinions on this subject have changed. Maybe you could replace every “IE6” in this post with “IE7”? You know, I’m really not sure, it all just depends on my mood and what project I’m working on.

Let me start off by yelling from the rooftop, “I hate IE6!”

How many times have you heard that around the web development community? I have to be honest. I’m really tired of hearing everyone’s bitching. If you’re really making a cutting edge website, then don’t bother with supporting IE6. I think your website’s users can appreciate a simple upgrade notification or something similar.

Okay. So here’s my answer on the subject as a web developer at an advertising agency:

I do support IE6. I have to. I live in the real world where not everyone is a web developer. A world where people don’t all have new computers. A world where not all people upgrade their computers. A world where many people don’t even know what a web browser is. The point is, in most cases, you’re going to have clients that have all kinds of Internet users. Whether you like it or not, you have to support them.

Did I mention I live in Anchorage, Alaska? Yeah! Needless to say not all clients have Windows 7 installed with the latest version of IE. Not to mention we have tons of clients that serve smaller, remote parts of Alaska.

It seems that any time I make a site that doesn’t work in IE6, I hear about it. I generally have an account manager come to me, and say, “The client says the site doesn’t work. Can you fix it?” This is code for “it doesn’t work in IE6.” If you think supporting IE6 is ridiculous, try explaining to your account manager when they tell you “it doesn’t work” what this mystical IE6 thing all the web developers are bitching about is. Prepare yourself for a nice, “Can you fix it anyway?”

For me, telling an account manager that I’m not going to fix a website because we shouldn’t be supporting IE6 is like telling a child that Santa isn’t coming this Christmas. They don’t understand, they don’t like it, and they want it anyway.

Now here’s my answer as a Theme Forest newbie:

Basically, I support IE6 if it’s convenient for me. I try to abide my simple CSS methods that generally make my sites look similar in all browsers. However, in the end if it doesn’t look perfect in IE6, I really don’t sweat it. If something looks really screwy and I don’t have to spend much time fixing it, sure, I’ll do it.

There are definitely a lot of times that when I’m making sites at home that are more “out of the box” I run into a complete mess in IE6 at the end, and you know what? I say screw it. Believe me, I’ve never seen a drop in sales on a template for it not working in IE6; that’s for sure.

17 comments on “Yup, I Support IE6. Want to Know Why?

  1. I’ve been there. The reason I’m not supporting IE 6 anymore with any of my database apps is because it’s ridiculous. Support for common things that are everywhere are simply not present, and the fixes for IE 6 often break IE 7 and 8. Take the PNG fix for example. It messes up scrolling in later versions of the same browser.

    Obviously, there’s nothing wrong with supporting IE 6, but if you’re going to do that, you also need to explain to clients why you can’t do this really cool whiz bang thing they want in it. See, the thing that gets me about the whole thing, is that the rule is “the default configuration two years ago,” for everything but IE 6. There is no other area of web design or programming where we’re ever asked to support any other 12 year old piece of software. Not one.

    I understand account managers. But they just want to see the web page work. If you explain to them that IE6 is DANGEROUS to have on their computers, they usually listen. Then they thank you for saving the day, when they download and install firefox, chrome, or IE 8. There’s always a comment there about how they don’t know anything about this stuff. It’s a good easy way to be a superhero.

  2. I bought a theme of yours just because it worked on every browser around. Most of the visitors of the site in which I used the theme are “traditional” browsers, i.e., they don’t have web knowledge at all, so telling them to switch the browser would be useless.
    Keep it up!

    • That’s how I am. My stuff usually just works. I can generally fix any issues really quikly.. so I figure I should just do it.

  3. Interesting read. To be honest, it’s because of the “old” or “out of date” securities, that’s all. Since IE9 is coming out hopefully this year, I think it’s crazy to check each IE6, IE7, IE8 and IE9 to make sure it looks good, ya know? Nice site, BTW.

  4. Hey, I’m korean and web-developer even if I’m 19 now.
    I really really agree with you !! That you said is just what I’ve been considering.
    but you know what? In korea, most people usually use IE6 in their company or public office, because their boss request them not to upgrade the browser. I’ve heard of the reason why they don’t . that’s because they see most website works in IE6. I don’t understand why they like acting like an idiot -_-;;

    Anyway, Thank you for your insight so a alot!
    I will translate this for korean web-developers with the original link.

  5. @Aaron

    As time goes on this post is slowing not representing my opinions. In my last theme two themes for theme forest, I totally disregarded IE6.

  6. @Taemin

    I can sort of understand what you mean. In the ad agency I was working at previously, all of the sales people and account managers had limited rights on their computes and couldn’t even run updates. They all had Windows XP with IE7, but noone wanted to do anything about it because having the tech people come in and update everyone’s computer is a “scary” thing and a hassle. And noone likes when things change.

  7. Hey Jason, do you support ie6 by adding dean edwards ie fix, or you hard code the css? because that can be a really pain in the butt having to add height: 1%; display: inline; blablablah.

  8. @David

    Yup. Except for this post is now about 6 months old, and I’ve changed my opinions a bit since! With Theme Forest officially stopping IE6 support, so have I on all my themes for sale. Especially with the release of IE9 beta… when IE9 is stable I think I can completely forget about IE6 all together.

  9. One of the problems is that software vendors sometimes create web interfaces that rely heavily on Active X controls, and in some cases, break with later releases of IE which force IS/IT departments to not be able to upgrade their browsers.

    Currently we have both IE8 and FF deployed on most of our user base. We did have a period of time (before IE8 came out) where we could not upgrade from IE6 because IE7 broke the functionality of one of our vendor’s apps; however, we will probably move to IE only because of the difficulty in explaining the difference between IE and FF to our users, and why they have to use IE for certain sites. 🙁

    On the bright side, eventually IS/IT departments will have no choice but to upgrade the OS from XP to Win7 because XP license downgrades will no longer be possible, which will eliminate the ability to have IE6 installed and allow IE9 to be used. 🙂

  10. IE6 is dead! Long live IE6! Shall we also support IE5 because someone doesn’t want to upgrade? Should we, the creators of the web, instruct the unwashed masses? Or shall we cater to their whims and support some outdated technology? I don’t care how cool the new versions of IE are. I doubt any of them will be as secure as a non-MS browser. Let’s not forget this important reason for actively discouraging IE’s usage.

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