University Web Developers

University Web Developers

For those of you who have recently updated your site or going through an update (since Jan 2008), do you support IE6?
Why? Why not?
If not, how do you handle those few visitors that still use it? Browser upgrade suggestions? A supported browser copy on a page or footer?

We're leaning towards only supporting Safari 3+, FF 2+, and IE7+.

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I unilaterally declared that my office (a one man web office for a 26,000 page site) will not support IE6. It's a resource issue, not to mention it's running at its EOL. I simply don't have the time to stop and test every little thing in it and deal with its quirks and flaws. Usually, these are elements of progressive enhancement, and I simply will do some browser detection and have the page modify itself accordingly (easy with our CMS) to not serve enhanced code to IE6. Sometimes it's actual layout stuff. I simply can't care, too many bigger fish to fry.

When users complain, I tell them to get Firefox. If that doesn't work, I politely explain that it's not a reasonable demand to support such an old piece of software now given our resources, and if they want it to change, feel free to write our VP asking that more manpower be added to the office. And then go get Firefox. Has it gotten me some dirty looks and angry emails? Yep. But ultimately, no one challenges the matter, because at least in our case, I'm right, heh.
We still support IE6 as about 23% or our total visits are still IE6. That is too large of a percentage to totally not support it. We try to get it as exact as IE7 and FF2+ but in some cases we have to settle for something that is not as perfect.

The browsers that we don't support are those that are less than 5%, so we still have a ways to go before we will officially tell people that it is not supported.

That being said, if our campus users call with problems and they are on IE6 we do try and push them to a newer browser.
We also decided to minimally support IE6 (visually) in a recent redesign. Unfortunately, around 14% of our users still use IE6, so we didn't feel that we could totally ignore it. Our org doesn't really have a "browser strategy" yet, so for now, we're just making these decisions on an ad hoc basis.

We were using PNGs for banner and rounded corner images, so we just made .gif equivalents, and used CSS hacks to hide the PNGs from IE6, and separate CSS rules to display the .gifs. It doesn't look extremely pretty, but it's functional.
For the past three years we've seen IE6 usage go from 22% to 9%.

There are several factors for us: resources, not wanting to use hacks, and an expectation that we'll see a continued decrease in IE6 usage.
For us this is really an analytics question. Our IE6 users are still too many in number to ignore. It is getting closer though.
We've still got 10%+ IE6 usage, so I think we'll have to hold out a little longer. *sigh*

Apart from the percentage, I think it's important to think about exactly who that small percentage may represent. My guess is that people who haven't updated from IE6 are a combination of:

1. Corporate users who are stuck on IE6 for standardization reasons.
2. Older people who think IE6 is the internet.
3. Non-technical people who don't know or can't be bothered.

My point: From a student recruitment and admissions standpoint, IE6 probably isn't that important, since teenagers aren't likely to be in these groups. From a fund raising, business relations and alumni standpoint, you may want to keep things running in a terrible, abomination of a browser for just a little bit longer.
Ha ha ha. We support IE6 because our IT office won't support IE7 or 8 for campus users yet.
I minimally support IE6 for layout issues, and make try to not to use PNGs. I don't find that limiting. Constraints foster creativity.

I also added a conditional If IE 6-7 statement at the footer of our site suggesting that those users upgrade to Firefox, Safari, or Chrome.

I'd love to ditch it entirely, and I can see that from our analytics, the vast majority of our IE6 users are here on campus, possibly in our building.

How about this as a question: At what percentage do we stop supporting it?
I think we've had this discussion (or a similar one - maybe it was about supporting IE8) recently. Our site still gets a decent amount of traffic from IE6 users, so we minimally support it. I will check new pages and major updates in IE6, and will correct major issues if they appear. We use quite a few transparent PNGs in our layout, as well, but I've implemented through conditional comments for most of those. In the few cases where that's not feasible, I've made GIF equivalents for use in IE6.

When building the site, I even developed it to minimally support IE5, as there were still about 5% of our visitors using that. However, that number has declined to only one or two visits each month since the redesign, so I've stopped even checking the site in that browser.
We support IE6, IE7, and FF. I wish we could drop IE6, but a good 20% of users still use it.



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