IE6: It is Time to Move On...

8/31/2010  By David

For quite some time there has been an outcry among web developers to drop support for Internet Explorer 6. Why? IE6 is simply a poor browser. Many web standards don't work in IE6 - not to mention all the bugs that are costly to exterminate.

Several major websites have dropped support for IE6. Facebook, Google Apps, and YouTube are among the best known sites that have, or are in the process of, dropping support for IE6. Even Microsoft recommends upgrading from IE6 for security reasons.

And now, finally, 3rd Studio will no longer support IE6 by default in any website we develop.  Why did it take so long for us to join the bandwagon? Usage.  IE6 may be bad, but if dropping support means 10% of your site's visitors cannot use your site, that's really bad. Some companies have taken the stance of "upgrade your browser or go somewhere else", but that's just rude. Many internet users have not been able to upgrade - especially at work on their corporate network. So we have continued to support IE6 on our websites.

But this argument no longer flies... at least not in the United States.

According to StatCounter, IE6 usage dropped below 5% (4.7%, actually) for the first time in May 2010 in the U.S and Europe. Five percent is still a significant figure, but not if you are considering a new website or upgrading your current website. Only 12 months earlier IE6 usage was at 11.5%.  That means in one year it has dropped by more than half. In August 2010 it had dropped to 3.8% - another 25% drop in just 3 months! By the time any new development is complete, that percentage will be even less significant.  And within a year or so, it could easily be below 1%.

By not supporting IE6 we are better able to make full use of the latest web technologies, reduce costs and shorten overall development time.

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