Part of a Whole

My name is Nicolas Steenhout.
I speak, train, and consult about inclusion, accessibility and disability.

Outdated browsers

This is not going to be a long and technical explanation. I feel I must explain to you, however, why I shall not support Internet Explorer 6.

Styling issues

Those of us creating websites are well aware that each browser tends to have its own idiosyncrasies when it comes to interpreting the styling of a page. In general, the differences are fairly minor, as most browsers render pages the way they should be rendered. That is, they comply to web standards (or are “standards compliant”). Internet Explorer (IE), until version 7, was not standards compliant. It interpreted styling requests in its own ways. I hasten to mention that while IE7 has made tremendous improvements in that direction, it’s still far from perfect, but that’s not the point of this post.

I know I have generally allocated up to an additional 50% of time to any design project I have worked on, just to make pages work in IE6. There is a running joke that designers should invoice Microsoft for wasted time trying to make things work in his browser.

IE6 is now a dated browser: IE7 has been out for well over a year and Microsoft is pushing (forcing?) it on users, and IE8 is out in beta already. It is not appropriate to continue supporting IE6 considering the amount of work required to do so.

If you are using IE 6, you will get the site’s content, entirely unstyled. You lose no content whatsoever.

As an end-user, why should you care about IE6? Simple, because of security issues.

Security issues

IE has seen numerous security flaws. Most applications at one time or another have such issues, and they are fixed and all is happy again. Except that the number of security holes in IE6 has been staggering. And Microsoft has been less than forthcoming with timely fixes. In fact, Brian Krebs of the Washington Post wrote:

For a total 284 days in 2006 (or more than nine months out of the year), exploit code for known, unpatched critical flaws in pre-IE7 versions of the browser was publicly available on the Internet. Likewise, there were at least 98 days last year in which no software fixes from Microsoft were available to fix IE flaws that criminals were actively using to steal personal and financial data from users.

It is in your best interest to abandon IE6 and get a better, safer browser

Alternatives

There are several browsers you may wish to use that are better options than IE6:

If you are accessing the web from a company computer and you have no access to installing software yourself, consider asking your ITS technicians to do so for you.