Die IE6, Die! Let the web move forward

That’s been a trending topic on Twitter for the past couple of days. Well, not those exact words, but something similar so I read the article they were all talking about: IE6 Must Die for the Web to Move On
It’s the message web designers and developers, including myself, want clients to send their visitors! And I can understand their frustration.
Well, because, like most most web designers and developers, I often spend hours after I’ve completed a design, that looks perfectly fine on all the most popular browsers (Firefox, IE7 & 8, Chrome, Opera and Safari), altering the code so that pages render correctly on my old laptop which I’ve deliberately left installed with IE6 (small screen with outdated browser software).

IE6 is outdated

Reason being, web technology is developing so rapidly, IE6 has become outdated. Already, it is incompatible with some of the new technology that we use: CSS v2 (cascading style sheets) is not supported and PNG transparencies don’t display properly. But soon, web designers will be using a new version of HTML (HTML5) which means IE6 will become completely obsolete.
In the meantime, while we wait for users to update their old browsers, web designers and developers, like myself, need to add extra coding and use JavaScript fixes. This causes hours of unnecessary frustration on the part of the web designer/developer.
I don’t charge extra for this additional work, which I probably should, but then again I don’t ask my clients “Do you want your website to look great in IE6 or are you okay with it not looking right to 15-25% of your visitors?” I just assume they want it to look right and spend the time necessary to make sure it does and don’t charge an extra dime.
After all, what if they said no because they couldn’t afford to pay for the extra time spent?
I’ve seen lots of websites where designers/developers have not spent additional time on ensuring their websites render correctly in IE, including some of the top ranking websites. Transparent images have gray backgrounds and pictures or text boxes sometimes drop to the bottom of the page instead of in columns side-by-side. I don’t want my work to look bad, so it makes sense to continue rectifying the problem free of charge!
However, there are other issues related to users not updating their browsers (which I won’t go into here), and it’s apparently large companies with a network of computers that seem to be most reluctant to upgrade. The biggest issue that they ought to be concerned with, however, is that security is also compromised. Which is one of the reasons users SHOULD update!

Web designers/developers can encourage users to upgrade

According to another article I read yesterday, instead of designers spending hours altering code and adding fixes, there’s now something else we can do instead.  Developers have created JavaScript that we can add to our website designs. The code generates a pop-up with a message, which will appear when an old browser is used to open the site, suggesting the user upgrades to one of the above mentioned modern browsers.
If all designers/developers add this code to their designs, users with IE6 will eventually get fed up with the “pop-ups” and hopefully take action to upgrade their browser software.
Now, I’m no whiz with JS, in fact, I try not to tamper with it at all if I can help it, but I do use it in my designs and trust the developers have tested and de-bugged it before making it available as an OpenSource download (free to use) or part of Dreamweaver’s software features.
So, I tried the most unobtrusive “pop-up” last night (which is available as a free download), but, unfortunately, it didn’t work first time around (the clickable browser icons were missing). However, I only tried it offline (and it was 1 a.m. so I probably didn’t read the instructions correctly).
Hopefully I will get some time to experiment with an online version as it’s certainly something I would like to include on future web designs. It doesn’t seem to affect the design or how a website works in modern browsers, but it’ll be a lot quicker than what I’m doing right now.
And, if you’re a web designer I urge you to do the same. If all web designers/developers unite in encouraging users to upgrade, IE6 can be laid to rest and the Web will be able to move on!
Turns out this “small note” I intended writing ended up being quite large! Thank you for making it to the end.