Troublesome IE6

IE6, the small, but old bugger.

Now that the house is more or less up and running, this would be a good moment to write down some thoughts and facts that occurred during the design phase. I won’t get too detailed (since I have already forgotten some of them), but let me dive right away into the most common problem all web designers still face, IE6.

At first I was only testing my css-code against Firefox, Opera and Safari (v3) as I didn’t have Windows installed on my laptop from the beginning. I knew this would become a problem later when I test the “finished” code against IE6, but it would be interesting to see in how many ways the old browser will fail.

Once I finally installed Parallels on my laptop I was able to test the code against Google Chrome, Safari 4 (I’ll wait for the first update before installing it on my Mac OS) and IE6/8 (IE7 is apparently not necessary to have since IE8 can emulate its behaviour). With the new browsers things looked fine after some small adjustments.

IE6 on the other hand displayed the layout in so many ways wrong, that I didn’t know where to start. What a surprise, huh? Usually I would fix these bugs in a normal project, but since this was my own site and my rules, I decided to leave the horror as it is so that the users of the old browser truly get the idea how terrible their browser of choice really is. This paired with a plugin that displays a window encouraging any IE6-user to upgrade into anything better was my solution to the problem.

IE6 fails by not dispaying the header image, losing the post's padding and adding extra indent to the sidebar's listings.

IE6 fails by not dispaying the header image, losing the post's padding and adding extra indent to the sidebar's listings.

I can be easily accused of being lazy and an unprofessional web designer to ignore 14.5% of Internet users, some by the lack of choice (many offices stick to IE6 even if they could upgrade it to IE7 and now IE8, for Windows 2000 users it isn’t even possible). I’m not happy about this, but with a non-commercially critical website like this, I’m taking this kind of approach to the problem. Of course, this is at the same time a statement and call to bring down IE6 for good. Anti-IE6 campaigns have steadily been on the increase lately, so I thought this would be a nice opportunity to join in.

Sure, it hurts to know IE6-users will not see the website like I’ve designed it. Actually, I probably will fix those bugs in the end. I’m not even sure will these kinds of campaigns make any difference in the end, but at least it is good to know that IE6’s browsing share is, if not rapidly, at least steadily decreasing. I, like the rest of us web designers, are looking forward to the day when we can laugh at the then deceased IE6 when at its time we felt more like crying.

Comments are now closed.