Why we no longer support Internet Explorer 6
Here at Headspace, we have been asked why certain websites do not appear as nicely as they do int IE7 and up, Firefox, or Safari. Here’s why; Since last year, we have been early adopters of the opinion that IE6 should not be supported any longer.
IE6 is a 9 year old legacy browser that is unstable, insecure and does not properly support modern web standards. About 95% of the population do not use IE6 (and unfortunately the 5% that do are often government departments that only upgrade computers about once a decade).
In fact, to emphasize this point, Google announced recently that they are phasing out support for IE6, as is stated in their official blog.
This will speed up IE6’s already rapidly approaching demise.
Our position at Headspace is that all the websites we produce should be accessible in all devices and browsers, and platform independent, which is why we build with web standards as specified by the WC3. Accessibility means that the website functions properly (ie: links can be clicked on, forms can be used, and the text can be read either visually or with an assistive device, like a screen reader). What is wonderful about this approach is that technically, a website built in standards can be viewed on IE 2.0—it just won’t be pretty. However it is still accessible, the user will not be greeted with an error message, he will be greeted with unstyled paragraphs, headings and links.
At Headspace, we do not guarantee that websites we produce will visually render the same in IE6 as they do in modern browsers. Part of this is simply because the cost to do so would be large and eat up a portion of our client’s budgets that could be used on more valuable site features instead of the comparatively low ROI of supporting a legacy browser—one that only a small portion of the population uses.
It seems 2010 is the year Internet Explorer 6 will finally die. We’re hoping that others see the value in moving on, and I sincerely hope that Google’s influence will help put the final nail in the coffin of this old, unstable, and stubborn browser. It seems now the web can move forward.