Death to IE6

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I’m happy to see that ditching support for IE6 is finally gaining ground. Most prominently, Facebook, Digg (and soon, YouTube) are all officially leaving IE6 behind — and hopefully other large companies and websites to follow.

IE6 has been around since 2001, and the online landscape has changed much since then — from new standards (transparent PNGs, CSS 2, etc), to a complete shift in the paradigm of what a website is (the pages we view are far more interactive than the mostly static ones of a few years ago, and complex JavaScript is extremely prevalent). Some would argue that IE6’s standards support was never very top-notch, and certainly by today’s standards, a designer must bend over backwards, and then some, just to get their website to display correctly in a severely outdated browser. As a perfect example, I never tested in IE6 when designing the current theme, and while it displays fine in virtually every other browser since IE7, IE6 fails spectacularly at rendering certain elements of the design.

So who exactly is holding us back? According to a Digg survey, only 7% of people using the browser actually like it. The rest? Well, a staggering 76% use it because they are forced to — due to sadistic workplace IT policies, or not having administrator access to their PC. Only 17% aren’t upgrading because they don’t feel the need to upgrade (hopefully as more big-name websites drop support, they will begin feeling such a need!) It seems the solution lies with those in charge of IT facilities in workplaces around the world — surely the people who would know best the importance of using an up-to-date browser!

Here’s hoping that IE6’s market share drops into the nothings by year’s end. I personally feel no desire to wrangle my designs to support it.

Helpful hint: if you’re still using IE6, click this link.