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Leaving IE6 behind

Careful! This post is looking a little old and could be inaccurate in many, many ways

At the time of writing this post I have just finished browser testing the new site (I wrote it a while back) and it went rather smoothly. The reason for this is because I now use the rule:

If I can’t see it, I don’t care

In the past I would spend hours over the smallest details when it came to browser testing, ensuring a site was identical to the original design. Of course this was a little crazy, so now I get a site built and working in Firefox and then browser test to remove an obvious or critical functionality or positioning problems. The reason for the careless approach is that many users will not notice the small differences or notice that anything is broken as they probably don’t compare sites in various browsers like Web Developers.

I had a cool idea

When originally thinking over the concepts for the website I had originally planned a very different experience for IE6 users. Instead of a full colour site they would get something with a sepia colour scheme, like that of old photos. The idea was it would be a challenge, something different about the site and a visual indication, although subtle, of the age of the browser. The idea never came to fruition for a couple of reasons:

  1. The website had already taken me months to complete, adding a another large chunk of work didn’t seem attractive.
  2. The figures didn’t quite stack up. Over the past year 18% of users viewed the site using Internet Explorer, of those 20% were using IE6. Although this is enough people to ensure the site was working it wasn’t enough to do something particularly special for them.

Why not drop support altogether?

I’ve never agreed in dropping IE6 support altogether. Instead I got the easy stuff working and fixed the big issues but when it came to certain issues I made decisions based on the impact of users. Asking questions like ‘Would a user really miss this is it was gone?’ or ‘Is this functionality somewhere else, or accessible through other means?’ led me to make choices over what was worth time fixing, so now I have a site that works in every browser but looks better in newer browsers.