17 06/2009Damien Buckley State of the Browsers - IE Edition

With IE8 becoming more prevalent in the market, this is a timely article by PPK at Quirksmode in which he discusses the current state of the web in relation to browser market share.
Of particular interest are his comments in relation to developers potentially charging additional fees for IE6-compatible sites and his views on browser bundling in windows 7.

I think on the whole PPK is right and the fact is, we’re having to leave some nice enhancements and features out in order to satisfy the still significant number of users using IE6.

That said, alongside intranets, we also have to remember that all pre-XP machines are unable to run anything newer than IE6 and are therefore stuck with it – or the option of moving to using Firefox or another browser.

The reality is however that if those users have not upgraded their operating system for well over a decade, then can we really expect them to be savvy (or interested) enough to bother searching for and upgrading to a newer browser? Do we want to close those users out? Given their numbers, its likely not a great idea and as PPK’s article notes, IE6 could be around for a lot longer than IE7.

Although I for one would truly love to drop IE6 compatibility, I think for now it may be unrealistic.

As for charging an additional 20-30% to provide IE6 compatibility, I think this percentage perhaps overstates the effort required though the bigger issue is going to be convincing clients of its worth – or lack of and moving on without it.

Most clients I’ve come into contact with in the past 5 years have no previous knowledge of web standards or cross-browser compatibility and a lot are an easy sell for the windows/IE only developers out there. Most have no clue that their site falls apart on other browsers or Mac / Linux platforms until they see it on another machine, if at all.

Taking all of this into account I’m dubious at whether standards-based developers may simply be introducing another reason for clients to take the cheap quote option by introducing another fee for providing IE6 compatibility?

UPDATE:- No sooner had I hit the publish button than I saw this pearler:- http://www.flickr.com/photos/robotjohnny/3629069606/ – or go check it out in IE6 ; )

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