“Friends don’t let friends use IE6”

Not me saying that, but Microsoft. On Friday 4th March Microsoft released the IE6 Countdown website, an aggressive campaign to persuade users to stop using IE6 and update to a newer IE. Its goal is to decrease IE6 users to less than one percent.Microsoft wants to kill off one of the most successful pieces of software ever (measured by durability and user numbers).

As you can see, there’s a lot to do; IE6 usage worldwide stands at 12%. Which is quite a lot for a 12-year-old piece of software. The figures are skewed by the high percentages in the far east, but if we concentrate on the US, UK and Canada (where most of our clients are), there are still over 3% of computers using IE6.

Does KP Direction Support the IE6 Countdown

Well, yes and no. We’re currently in a situation which we last had with IE4, where we can quickly design websites, but then have to spend a disproportionate amount of time reworking aspects of the site to make it display correctly in IE6. All web developers would love to develop only to the latest and greatest standards, but in the real world we live in, we can’t. We have clients in government departments, for example, who are on IE6 because their IT people haven’t gotten around to upgrading their browsers, or (in the case of one blue-chip client) because they run bespoke software which requires IE6, and which would be too expensive to rewrite. It doesn’t matter what we tell these clients – they can’t upgrade anyway.

We will, of course, encourage all our clients to leave IE6 behind and move to newer platforms. Our contracts currently cover development for all current browsers and one release back – which is IE8 and IE7 for internet explorer. Any other coverage is a chargable extra. One thing we would never do, however, is display a banner on a client website suggesting that the user upgrade to something more modern and with fewer bugs. As we said above, lots of users *can’t* upgrade from IE6 for technical, business or other reasons, and they already know that they’re at a disadvantage – so why rub it in!