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Cut the fat. If you still use IE 6, it's time to upgrade

Posted By: Thomas Shaw, 9:51pm Tuesday 25 May 2010    Print Article

I hate supporting old internet browsers. Listen up fellow webmasters, job boards and solution providers. If you spend hours designing your site to work perfectly in IE 6, you’re taking away any incentive from slow adopters to drop their old browser. Take a stand and insist your users upgrade to the latest browser versions.

Google revealed earlier this year they would cease supporting IE 6 in a blog post "The web has evolved in the last ten years, from simple text pages to rich, interactive applications including video and voice. Unfortunately, very old browsers cannot run many of these new features effectively. So to help ensure your business can use the latest, most advanced web apps, we encourage you to update your browsers as soon as possible."

Numerous other job boards and solution providers already insist to their clients for the best possible experience with our site/application you should use the latest browsers.

So what do you do when a user visits your site using an old browser? Inform the user that you no longer support the browser they are using, and suggest alternatives.
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 7.0+
  • Mozilla Firefox 3.0+
  • Google Chrome 4.0+
  • Safari 3.0+
There are many different browser detection scripts available that can be integrated with your website. Here are some examples from CareerOne/Monster and SEEK

It's time to cut the fat.

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Article Tags: cut the fat internet browser ie 6 browser detection microsoft internet explorer mozilla firefox google chrome safari job board recruitment website

Comments Hide Comments (4)

Feel free to join in on the conversation. All comments are moderated before publishing. Comments posted by subscribers don't necessarily reflect the views of Recruitment Directory.

 Dmitry K (10:28pm Tuesday 25 May 2010)

Not only Google - Microsoft themselves question why use a 9-year-old browser too.

The jobseekers have moved on a long time ago. It is big corporate clients that can't easily upgrade from IE6.

- Some have strict SOE policies.
- Some have core products (SAP, Oracle, etc) that don't or didn't support anything above IE6.

The most common issue - old intranet applications that were built for IE6 and are no longer supported. These companies are stuck with IE6 and can't easily upgrade to the newer versions of IE or other browsers.

I believe 2010 will be the end of IE6 though. Many companies skipped Vista upgrade, but will upgrade to Windows 7 (that comes with IE8).

In addition to what Thomas says, I'd say don't stop at IE7 - go straight to IE8. You can switch IE8 to IE7 compatibility mode if required.

 Russell M (11:50am Thursday 27 May 2010)

Actually, I'd disagree: design your webpage according to proper web standards (full W3 compliance, for a start) and the user shouldn't need to upgrade. Yet.

A burning desire to include the latest and greatest non-standard wizzy toys and features is not really the users problem, and blaming the user for the websites failing is short sighted. Anyone that has visited almost any marketing company's webpage will know what I mean: they are concentrating so hard on the "shiny" factor that the page itself is completely useless!

There is a point where upgrading is needed, yes. IE6 isn't that point yet. Give it another few years and it will be. The other problem is what Dmitry K actually recommended - going straight to IE8. Sure, it's slightly less bug-ridden and ever so slightly more secure than IE7, but it's still non-compliant, can't render things properly even when told to, and is simply not a good browser. It's also platform dependent. Why suggest something that is useless to that 15+% of users that don't use a Windows based machine?! Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, etc are all good options. They're also completely platform independent. And they're far closer to being standards compliant, which means they will survive longer.

That means all the user has to do is hope the site owner can design a page properly...

 Rob S (12:54pm Thursday 27 May 2010)

Sorry Russell M, but you're missing the point of Thomas' post and Dmitry K's comment. You have got to be kidding when you say "design your webpage according to proper web standards (full W3 compliance, for a start) and the user shouldn't need to upgrade". The simple fact is that IE6 - a browser developed during the browser wars and deployed in 2001 - is the single LEAST standards supporting browser in existence today. For starters, IE6 doesn't even support the 'box model' which is a fundamental part of standards compliant web development.

Microsoft are even recommending that users upgrade for security reasons. One would think that the reasons they are stating (that IE6 is a 9 year old browser) would apply to more than just the 'security' angle that they are pushing.

Sure "whizzy toys" can be built using newer methods and technologies that aren't supported by IE6 but so can rich interactions that modern browsers can support and users have come to expect from web applications.

When you consider the amount of development and test time required to support IE6 and combine that with the improved experience of users through richer interactions and immediate feedback, we can't get away from this browser soon enough.

Surely you agree that developers are better off spending time creating better products and experiences than they are wasting their time fixing bugs for just one browser (that is now used by less than 10% of users).

Security, speed, stability, standards compliance and removed support by popular web apps are reason enough to show that now is clearly the time for people to upgrade.

Hop to it!

 Zlatan Halilovic (7:22am Sunday 30 May 2010)

Russel M., you're full of crap

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