Is this the needed Push Out the Door for IE6?


Internet Explorer 6 is an old browser, in internet terms it is a dinosaur. Released in 2001, it has been the mainstay of peoples internet experience over the last 9 years.

The masses are often reluctant to change unless something pushes them along.

Firstly, Firefox gave users a good alternative browser to use (Better in my opinion)

Then came regular security issues, each time a further section of the browsing public moving to another browser. Most recently was the security hole that caused a breach in Google and over 30 other companies.

The key thing to note about this last issue was the speed and loudness of some governments urging people to look at other browsers to prevent further problems.

Some say that Firefox has overtaken Internet Explorer as the first choice in some countries.

However, there are still about 20% of the internet population using Internet Explorer 6.

I have now just read of Googles impending chang in in policy to cease support of IE6 from the 1st of March. This specifically deals with Google Docs and Sites, but shows a willingness to help push the remianing 20% into more modern browsers.

I support this as it has the following benefits:

  1. Wider support for the new HTML5 (IE6 would not be able to offer this new technology)
  2. Improved browser compatibilty with web standards
  3. Speed

It would be great if those 20% could not use Google at all, that would really send a message!

If you want to know more you can visit IE6 No More, a site dedicated to helping it disappear as soon as possible

If you use IE6, why don’t you upgrade?

IE6, What Do We Do About It?

Kick it to the Kerb?

That would be nice, as most web designers have come unstuck when a nice design fails spectacularly in IE6.

But unfortunately, there are still lots of people (over 30% in most cases) that are still using it, that is too large a number to upset with messages about compatibility and the like.

Some new designs from template makers will not work properly in Internet Explorer 6 and they provide warnings and encourage users to upgrade.

If you target corporate users, this is not a wise choice as some will still use IE6 across their organisation and IT are not keen to roll out IE7 or 8.

I have even recently visited a primary school that is still using IE6 in all of it’s classrooms.

For designers, testing in multiple browser brands involves installing the different browsers and testing as you go, however, my suite of browsers include:

  • IE8
  • Firefox 3
  • Firefox 2
  • Google Chrome
  • Opera 9
  • Opera 10

Notice that some browsers allow multiple versions to be installed simultaneously. This is a great thing for testing.

However, you can only install one version of IE, (there is a hacked version that allows older ones as well, but that seems a bit scary)

Recently, I found out about BrowserLab from Adobe, (Thanks @kalena) it is a great tool that lets you test browsers online without having to install them on your machine.

You enter the address of the site you want to test and the browsers you want to test on, and let it do it’s magic, you get presented with an image of what the result is for each browser.

Here is a list of all browsers:

  • Firefox 2.0, 3.0 and 3.5 under XP
  • Internet Explorer 6.0, 7.0 and 8.0 under XP
  • Chrome 3.0 under XP
  • Safari 3.0 and 4.0 under OSX
  • Firefox 2.0, 3.0 and 3.5 under OSX

Having Safari and Firefox under OSX is great too. No Opera yet, but I assume they will appear in time.

Good to see a useful resource hitting the web.

Do you have any web resources that you “must have”, let me know in the comments.