The anti-Internet Explorer 6 movement amongst web designers and developers has seemed to reach epic proportions lately. Websites are springing up everywhere to push web shops to do something. And some great satire sites too. This has sparked huge debate in the Plank offices about eliminating support for the browser that is now 8 years old, and the constant bane of our integrators' existence. Well, the integrators will be happy to know that we are dropping IE6 support as of now.
In a nutshell, here's what we're going to do. We will no longer toil away for countless hours making a website look and function exactly the same in IE6 as it does in every modern browser. If one of our clients wants that to happen, we will be happy to oblige, but they will pay a supplement for it. They'll be told this up front before any contract is signed. We will continue to fully support IE6 for all of our existing sites.
Now, our new websites will still work in IE6, but they just won't live up to the Plank highest-quality standard we have set. As Plankster Mitch used the analogy, IE6 will be like a black and white TV with a mono speaker - you'll be able to see what's going on, but you just won't get the full experience. Call it content-level support, instead of the design-level support we have provided all along.
It seems redundant to repeat some of the arguments why IE6 should die, but for completeness' sake here goes. And our clients deserve an explanation. As mentioned, IE6 is now eight years old, having been released in 2001. Plank has been supporting it since that time. But market share of IE6 is falling, and this will be hugely accelerated with the imminent release of Windows 7. As this happens, IE6 should no longer be considered a "mainstream" browser. In some ways, it's like Firefox was 3 or 4 years ago - with single digit market share, it did not make economic sense to support Firefox at the time. That's how we feel about IE6 now. Our hard-working employees are simply spending way too much time moving every last pixel and using every last hack to make sites look perfect in IE6. That just doesn't make sense (economic or otherwise) anymore.
We understand a serious issue about IE6 - that in some circumstances, from a technological or institutional perspective, people cannot upgrade their browser. Corporate users may not have the choice. We feel for these people, we really do. It is why the debate in our office has been so vigorous. But we feel it's only a matter of a short time before this changes too. And maybe, just maybe, eliminating support for a dated browser will help push those corporate IT departments to upgrade.
We gave up support for IE5.5 a while back, we would have done the same for IE6 eventually. Eventually has arrived.