iStock Photo Cease Support for IE6

Its official, as we start the countdown to the start of the next decade, major companies are taking the decision to cease support for Internet Explorer 6. iStock announced in their newsletter email that starting 2010 they will begin phasing out support for IE6.

What does this mean? iStock obviously want to keep their site compatible with all its users, meaning they have to accomodate for around 23 different browsers all rendering the site in different ways. Fixing errors and problems for IE6 can be a headache for any designer or developer, often having to create mulitple stylesheets or using invalid CSS hacks. This takes time, and in the current economic climate can often be non cost effective.

Is it a wise choice? With National Express East Anglia website statistics showing that 60% of its users are still using IE6 it goes to show that alot of the UK are still using the dated browser. Also if you look at the type of consumers that would be using this site, business commuters from large offices in London and surrounding areas, it gives you an insight that most major companies are just not updating their browsers. Which makes you wonder how secure their systems are, and how much money they must waste on security fixes, when they could prevent a huge black hole by replacing Internet Explorer 6.

iStock give five reasons for their choice:

  1. Security continues to be an issue with this legacy browser. We want people browsing to be safe!
  2. It’s slow. Too slow. It’s orders of magnitude slower than modern, efficient browsers.
  3. It’s non-standards compliant. This means our developers have to develop an almost completely different version of iStock to run on it.
  4. It doesn’t properly support cool new functionality that you are asking for, and we want to deliver.
  5. Alternatives are free, fast and easy to download:
    • Internet Explorer 7
    • Internet Explorer 8 R.C. 1
    • Firefox 3
    • Safari 3.2
    • Google Chrome

This move shouldnt effect browsing experience too much, after all they have accommodated for IE6 up until now, unless the web site owners have some plans to upgrade their website with new standards also being set to release around the same time, CSS3 and HTML5 are fast approaching final drafts, and many browsers already supporting them.

iStock are not alone. Popular web software creators 37 Signals announced last year that as of 1st October 2008 they will begin phasing out support for Internet Explorer 6, Apple’s MobileMe does not support IE6, and whilst Wordpress are still seeing 25% of its users still using the ancient browser, the CEO announced that if they see that figure fall below 10% they too will start ceasing support.

In summary, its about time. I purpously have not accomodated/tested this site with IE6, because I think those users should just update now to see my design how it should be. After all neglecting to upgrade your software is like choosing to face the enemy with a cardboard shield and a paper sword when you could have the latest Kevlar™ vest and ray gun.

Posted On: Monday, December 28th, 2009 @ 7:06 pm by Ian Tearle


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