About the nonsense of blocking and annoying IE6 users

I know why most people who do web design, JS coding etc. loathe Internet Explorer 6. I hate having to fix stuff for any IE at all, the web would be a better place if that piece of software just died. I welcome efforts to decrease the market share of IE6, I support nagging warnings for IE6 visitors. But what's with these nonsensical ideas of making websites look worse in it or blocking it?

There was a time when websites used "Best viewed in Internet Explorer" or "Best viewed in Netscape" kind of texts and banners. Some sites even blocked you if you were using the 'wrong' browser (it still happens today). That was stupid in the 90s, and locking out IE6 isn't any smarter today.

If you want to behave like the "Best viewed in Internet Explorer" crowd of the 90s just go ahead. There was a different movement back then that still exists today: Viewable With Any Browser. There's really no need to punish some minority browsers.

Anyone who slaps a 'this page is best viewed with Browser X' label on a Web page appears to be yearning for the bad old days, before the Web, when you had very little chance of reading a document written on another computer, another word processor, or another network.

Tim Berners-Lee in Technology Review, July 1996

I guess I'll just go on and build sites that are more or less standards-compliant and hopefully don't require special tweaking for IE6. There are enough cross-browser tools out there. Just use your favorite search engine to find JavaScript libraries, CSS frameworks etc. Of course, something will always break in the old IEs, but don't waste time breaking it on purpose.

Update: Just found this gem from the gif-crazy 90s and had to add it: Best viewed with your eyes

3 comments

  1. avatar
    wrote this comment on

    We dropped IE6 as a supported browser in Q4 2008 and we haven't looked back. Coding CSS for IE6 support added 20-30% to our development process. We offer our clients the option for a 20% increase in project cost to support IE6 but we don't do it by default.

    1. avatar
      wrote this comment on

      That's a good move. Your clients can decide if IE6 support is important for their business. I think Yahoo's <a href="http://developer.yahoo.com/yui/articles/gbs/" rel="nofollow">Graded Browser Support</a> concept and the reasoning behind it is good. In your case, even if you choose not to support IE6 by default, I guess you don't put extra work into breaking it.

  2. avatar
    wrote this comment on

    Yay! Another person on the internet that has their feet on the ground regarding the whole "IE6 is Hitler" nonsense.

    If I may be so bold as to pimp my own warblings on the subject:

    - http://www.kevadamson.com/talking-of-design/article/why-i-still-design-for-ie6
    - http://www.kevadamson.com/talking-of-design/article/why-i-will-miss-ie6

    Thanks. I don't feel quite so lonely now :)

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