Say “no” to IE6

October 11, 2008 10:06 pm | 22 Comments

IE6 is a pain. It’s slow. It doesn’t behave well. Things that work in other browsers break in IE6. Hours and hours of web developer time is spent just making things work in IE6. Why do web developers spend so much time just to make IE6 work? Because a large percentage of users (22%, 25%, 28%) are still on IE6.

Why are so many people still using IE6?! IE7 has been out for two years now. IE8 is a great improvement over IE7, but I don’t think people delayed installing IE7 because they were waiting for a better browser. There’s some other dynamic at play here. Most people say it’s employees at companies where IT mandates IE6. That’s true. But there are also other opportunities to upgrade from IE6, outside of these IT-controlled environments.

I just came back from The Ajax Experience where developers were talking about the trials and tribulations of getting their web apps to work on IE6, but there were no discussions about how to put an end to this. I remembered someone had mentioned SaveTheDevelopers.org and their “say no to IE6″ campaign. I checked it out and added it to my front page and this blog post. If you’re not on IE6, click here to see how it works.

Let’s all start promoting a program like this. Not only will it encourage individuals to upgrade, but it will also apply pressure to those reluctant IT groups. If the code from SaveTheDevelopers.org isn’t right for your site, by all means, code up a different message. We need to start encouraging users to upgrade to newer browsers so they can enjoy a better browsing experience. And sure, maybe we can get a few more hours of sleep, too.

22 Responses to Say “no” to IE6

  1. How much I love to see users update, I really think you would need more than just that little popup.. If I was seeing that popup I would ignore it.. Because It doesn’t give any good reason in the message why to update.

    If you want your users to update, show them hard cold facts. Like did u know.. By using IE6 you are vulnerable to nearly 1000 security leaks, why the latest browsers have non.

    Or did you know there is a free way for faster internet? Upgrade to the latest browser and experiance performance increase of nearly 30%!

  2. I wish that XP embedded could update from IE 6.

  3. I’m sure you are already know about the very similar website, but just in case, here is the link:
    http://upgradebrowser.org/

    And I’m joining to Arnout with his comment. We must show all IE6 users that they are risking their security and giving up they comfort while using such an old browser.

    We should somehow improve the message to get higher results, because for now it’s just “another annoying banner” to the most people. And I’m not sure if IE users do exactly know what ‘IE6′ means at all.

  4. Thanks for promoting this, Steve. What I’ve been doing is placing a red warning box at the top of my recent projects (using conditional comments) which urges IE6 users to upgrade to IE7. I include a screenshot in the warning box that shows the IE6 user what the site should look like, but then I use HTML and CSS that only work in IE7 and up, so they definitely see that their browser is broken. I think it’s a great incentive.

  5. Developers have control over a site, but controlling the user is beyond their power. What strategy could lower these 20%plus to insignificance? I think it is modesty and patience, since we can’t change it.

  6. Thanks for the post Steve.

    About half of our customers use IE6 today, primarily due to corporate security mandates that prevent users from upgrading to more recent versions of the browsers.

    How would you go about pushing these groups into making the move?

  7. Does anyone actually know how many people actually get converted/is upgrading after seeing that pop up?

    I seriously doubt if they even convert people.

  8. We should also support ie6 death march.
    http://iedeathmarch.org/

  9. You might also be interested in http://www.pushuptheweb.com which displays a div for any out of date browser not just IE6 and has a remind me later option which ?? may ?? increase uptake.

  10. I keep it installed because 25% of users do…. But I’ll be happy to see those numbers reach 1% and get rid of it :)

  11. One of the main reason for so many IE6 is the requirements to install IE7. You need a valid XP and with SP2 installed. And there’s a lot of people out there without SP2 or a legal installation of Windows.

  12. It is simple – because Firefox and Opera doesn’t have corporation-security support. There isn’t any simple solution to install, configure and secure employees PC. Block browser’s preferences, network/proxy configuration, block Add-ons at all…

  13. @Rik – I think MS dropped the genuine windows check for installing IE7 some time ago.

  14. The easiest way to put an end to IE6 is to simply stop wasting time supporting it. That way, people using IE6 will see more and more sites break on their antiquated browser and upgrade to a browser that actually works.

    One thing is for sure, as long as we developers keep supporting IE6, end users will keep using it because they have no reason to upgrade.

  15. I often dream of a kind of virus that would target IE6 and IE5.5. This virus would spread all over the world in a few hours… and the problem would be solved.

  16. My users are mainly from large corporates, and their IT departments would love nothing more than to upgrade to IE7; the problem is that they have too many existing applications that would break horribly if they did so. No clue how to solve that one, though…

  17. One easy way for people to upgrade there browser is add render as IE6 feature in IE8. This way.. people can mark sites as working in IE6 only, and users could just use the latest browser.

    But that happening is just as likely as IE implementing the webkit engine.. instead of trident

  18. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, IE5.5 was more predictable. It may not support as many features and it also had it’s problems, but they were more predictable.

    Ofcourse I do think Trident isn’t in any way an engine which should be used on the current internet.

    Webdevelopers everywhere should boycot it.

    I’m still not sure if I should hope IE8 is better so we’ll have less problems, but maybe more market-share for IE or if I should hope for a disaster, so we can tell people to not use it anymore.

  19. I’d like to see a website referencing good stuff done for modern non-IE6 browsers. Stuff that are impossible or very difficult to do with IE6, and just normally easy with new browsers.

    That way, potential clients may understand was they can ask for if they agree to drop IE6 compatibility, and developers would get a place that sums up techs free of IE6 workarounds.

  20. SaveTheDevelopers.org under new ownership…?

  21. It hardly surprises me to find that the all the complaints concerning IE6 (Which is just as secure as any browser provided you have a firewall and anti-virus plus Spybot S&D installed.)appear to be coming from sites whose pages don’t validate according to the schema indicated on their pages. It is ironic that such sloppy coding tends to be ignored while they go on and on about cosmetic issues concerning IE6 that can be fixed easily enough by using Google. This page for example has 83 errors and 46 warnings and not one has anything to do with IE6.

    http://validator.w3.org/check?uri=http%3A//www.stevesouders.com/blog/2008/10/11/say-no-to-ie6/&ss=&outline=

    Just say no to pages that don’t cut it!

  22. Well I actually found one site out five selected from above that checked out error free. Congratulations Rik.

    weston.ruter.net
    5 errors 1 warning

    claude.betancourt.us
    8 errors 2 warnings

    zoomin.co.nz
    65 errors 10 warnings

    webglossary.co.uk
    27 errors

    Just say no to pages that don’t cut it!