Don’t you hate it when you’re working on a site, and you finish fighting with CSS, resolving disputes between Firefox and IE7 so everything is perfect, and then you jump over to IE6 only to discover that everything is totally screwed up? I’ve just finished some coding on a site, and I’m so sick of having to deal with IE6. Why are so many people still using it? Nick at Web Designer Wall has made the case recently that we should stop supporting IE6 all together:
Stop using IE hacks on your sites and let them see the ugly side of IE6. Eventually, they will find a better browser (ie. Firefox) or at least upgrade to newer version of IE.
Do you agree?
With all due respect to Nick, and as frustrated as I am, I think this is a rather short-sighted and selfish approach. Sure it’s a royal pain to put in conditional CSS statements and PNG hacks because IE6 doesn’t understand PNG transparency, but do we really think that just leaving out the hacks so that users see the “ugly side of IE6” will convince them to upgrade their browsers? No, it won’t. I’ll tell you what it will do: it will make them head for the back button quicker than you can say “Bill Gates”, and on to a competitor’s site who IS customer/reader focused and who understands that many of these people who are still on IE6 don’t even realize they need to upgrade. They may not even have a choice, as they surf the internet during their lunch at a company stuck in the dark ages, or they might even know there is a newer version out there, but haven’t the slightest clue as to how to install it.
Obviously, there are some conditions under which you could easily drop the hacks:
- the site’s target audience/customer is tech savvy.
- your stats tell you that only a small percentage of your audience is still on IE6. Who cares if close to 40% of people are still in the browser dark ages. The only stat that matters is what browser your visitors are using.
- leaving out the hack isn’t going to disrupt the user experience that much anyway.
If you don’t want to have to deal with all those hacks, then don’t design a site that uses transparent PNGs or requires conditional CSS. I’m as frustrated as the next person with the snail-like pace at which people are upgrading their browsers, but it’s just part of the job. We’re not designing web sites for US, we’re designing sites for THEM. What are some other ways we can push people to upgrade?
This article was written by Randa Clay. Read more about design, marketing, blogging, branding and all things creative at RandaClay.com.