Should IE 6 Still Be Supported?

should we still support internet explorer 6?

So, I asked this question to a few people the other day. Should IE 6 still be supported? As a web & multimedia designer who wants to keep moving ahead to take advantage of the mouth-watering offerings of the latest browser technologies, IE 6 definitely holds us back to some degree. Now I know there are always work-arounds, but with IE9 just around the corner, is there any point anymore?

Increasingly, current browsers are starting to take advantage of HTML5 and CSS3. Though both are still undergoing development, browsers such as Safari, Chrome and IE9 are adopting this next iteration of the web mark-up language. The lack of standards compliance with IE6 also makes it a pain for web designers and developers to build for. Margins don’t behave as they should, even standard tags are rendered differently, making the CSS bloated to compensate for the browser’s rendering engine. It’s not fun to code and it adds code bloat to the CSS file.

According to the browser share statistics at W3schools.com for September 2010, there are only 5.6% of users still using IE6, so should we still compensate for that small fraction of users? Most IE users have moved on and are using IE7 or 8 and are probably not looking to downgrade back to IE6 anytime soon.

So what I’ve been thinking, since it was brought up, was that perhaps compliance with IE6 should no longer be a “standard feature” but more of an “additional feature” with client projects. If they would like IE6 browser support, it will cost extra. It only makes sense.

It should be up to us designers and developers to push the progress of web technologies and online experiences rather than wait for those unwilling to take hold of and embrace the future.

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