Internet Explorer 6 end-of-life project

The story

The aging browser, Internet Explorer 6, is fading away in the statistics but web developers around the world are still forced to make alternative versions of websites that display properly in the browser due to customer request and still high use. Microsoft already supports campaigns to help users upgrade their browser since it is also in their interest. Internet Explorer 7 is already available through Windows Update but there are still hordes of users browsing around the net without upgrading.
We need to focus our attention to these users and help them upgrade.

Why

Internet Explorer 6 is not just an old piece of software but the only way many users experience the net. IE6 has many flaws that makes it difficult and often impossible to give the user a new and unique experience. Companies are spending millions on time to work around these problems instead of focusing on improving the quality.

There are many reasons besides just user experience and time but here's the quick list:

  • Poor security
  • Many flaws in CSS and HTML handling
  • More Firefox users than IE 6 users (source)
  • No basic support for "new" features such as alpha-transparency, CSS-selectors and more
  • Microsoft advices upgrading

What we can do

We've done our best to make it as easy for you to help out. We know that shutting off IE6 users isn't an option and will create unhappy users. The best way to help is to advice users and point them in the right direction by telling them what to do:

warningmsg

The image above is an example of one way to advice users to upgrade. The message will display in the top of your site with links to Microsoft (IE section) and to Mozilla Firefox (getfirefox.com).

Setting a deadline

People will work more motivated and focused when setting a deadline. The more people support this campaign or others similar to it, the more effective it will be. A proposed deadline for all sites to stop support for Internet Explorer 6 which quite reasonable has already been given:

All support for Internet Explorer 6 ends on December 31st, 2009.

After this deadline web developers should stop thinking about support for IE6 on new sites or extended functionality to existing sites. A count-down will appear in the notice described below warning users to upgrade before deadline.

How we do it

Display the message like the one in the previous example. All you need to do as a web developer/web master is embed this script anywhere on your page:

<!--[if lte IE 6]>
<script type="text/javascript" src="http://www.mijav.dk/ie6/ie6warning.js"></script>
<![endif]-->

That's all you need. The special comments will ensure that the message is only displayed to IE6 users so IE7,8 or other browsers are clear of this message. You are free to download the script and modify it to fit your needs.

WordPress How-To

  1. Log on to your blog administration
  2. In the menu, go to Appearance and then Editor.
  3. In the Theme files list, choose Header (header.php)
  4. Insert the code snipplet just after the <body> tag to display it in the top of the blog.

That's it. You're done. Let me know if you have any problems, and I'll help you get set-up.

Not a developer?

You don't need to be a web developer or web master to help out, there are several things you can do as a regular user:

  • At work: Ask your IT administrator to upgrade your machine. Upgrading is likely to improve security which he/she wants.
  • At home: Upgrade your browser or choose an alternative such as Firefox or Opera. Both Firefox and Opera are actually faster and more secure than Internet Explorer.
  • Spread the word: Tell your co-workers and friends to upgrade when appropriate.

Related projects

  • www.dropie6.dk – Danish campaign site dedicated
  • ie6.forteller.net – Wiki-based site with information on history, why and how
  • www.stopie6.com – Simple site with the relevant name, dedicated to the cause
  • Your project here? Leave a comment below, and I'll update the list.

2 thoughts on “Internet Explorer 6 end-of-life project”

  1. You are quite right, Thomas. And much nicer looking than mine :-) I will however continue my anti-ie6 campaign and use both sites (and more) as references. The more the better. Thank you for the link.

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