The Long Proposed Death of IE 6

die ie6 from .net magazine
die ie6 from .net magazine
die ie6 from .net magazine

The proposed demise of IE 6 rings with the shouts of joy from web developers the world over, but is it truly on the horizon? While sites trying to kill IE 6 extoll all the valid reasons web designers and developers have to want the death; clients sit and look at philosophical arguments and compare them to the real world dollars of IE 6 users.

The Reality

The truth is that for many sites IE 6 users bring in money. I currently work with an e-commerce site where IE 6 users bring in 12% of the annual income. So that means in the last 30 days IE 6 users brought about $12,000 into the pockets of the owners. Don’t know about you but I would notice that money missing from my pockets.

On top of that there is a marked difference if we don’t provide full support for IE 6. Not having transparency on the images drops IE 6 conversion rates by 50%. Um I’d notice that hole in my pocket.

One company I sub-contract for only supports the latest editions of each browser. I totally love that I don’t have to hack around with IE 6 till it’s perfect. Sure I still check and put in a few minutes on it to fix major items but that’s about it. I do wonder though if the clients realize the real world dollars they could be throwing away by not supporting IE 6?

The Cost

I mean how long does it take really to get IE 6 supported fully? Let’s say it takes a whole work week, 40 hours. If we figure that you bill on the high end of the scale or are an agency with lots of overhead let’s say it costs $150/hour. So in 40 hours we just spent and extra $6000. Yeah we’d make it back in two weeks.

The cost is inconsequential really.

The Right Approach

The right approach when looking at browser support is to evaluate the clients statistics and support their clients. If they balk at the $6000 price of supporting IE 6 show them how much the users bring into the site and how quickly they recover the cost.

Sure I’d rather be building cool sites that just run the latest technologies. I’d rather be using HTML 5 and CSS 3 but more than that I like having food and a roof. I don’t love time debugging IE but I like affording a coffee.

So I’ll keep supporting IE 6 as long as it pays for my clients to do so. Really when I’m hired, I’m hired to give the best advice and solutions for a client situation not the best advice that isn’t a pain for me. Let’s just provide our clients with the right solution and get off our high horses.

Switch back to IE

This is spawned from an article on ArsTechina regarding the new IE 8 beta 2. (edited) I have now also found and article on Lifehacker. Check them both out for details on IE 8

I am an avide Firefox user. That is what I use on my PC at home and my Mac at work. I use it because of the greater security offered (especially from FF2 verses IE6) but more importantly I love the extensions that you can use with Firefox. Stuff like Ubitquity which I wrote about yesterday and have been using tonnes at home and at work.

With the new version of IE 8 beta 2 out though there are some very cool features that at least entice me to try out IE 8 in the future. Probably one of the most compelling features to me is the suggested sites. Basically it suggests sites that are similar to the sites that you are on. Seems kind of like stumbleupon (which i love but kills my time). I wonder if it would help in finding some design inspiration.

Think you would view a site with cool art work and then hit suggested sites. Voila now you have other sites that have some interesting arty thing to them.

There are lots of other neat features, most of them covered in Firefox 3. The only thing that will continue to hold me back from jumping into IE 8 as my fulltime browser is the lack of my favorite extensions like Ubiquity and the web developer tool bar. If IE 8 can catch up in the extension category I would consider making the switch.