I’m really tired of designing a simple, standards-compliant layout that looks fine in every browser but IE6. Aren’t you? Almost every web developer has something to say about this topic. I’ve found some interesting sites recently that suggest action we can take as a design community get IE6 out of our hair. The suggestions range from mild to extreme; either helping IE6 gracefully exit the stage or die a quick, painful death. We obviously want to make life easier for ourselves, but we can’t alienate our audience. I’m most concerned about those who don’t have the ability to upgrade their system because they work for a public institution with ancient machines or proprietary apps that don’t work on other browsers. For the rest of the world, maybe a little tough love is a good thing. Here are some of my favorite ideas:
- Dan Cederholm suggests serving up an un-styled version of the site.
- Nathan Smith points out that there ought to be a polite way to help the user upgrade their browser. This is accomplished through a meta refresh.
- The creators of IE6 Update encourage an update with something that looks like IE’s Information Bar. It contains a link to the latest release of IE. Since Microsoft has marketed their browser as “the Internet” the creators reason we shouldn’t feel bad about tricking the visitor into moving on to a better browser.
- http://www.bringdownie6.com/ appears to be the one of the nicest looking unified efforts to get people to do something to encourage user awareness of IE6’s shortcomings. I wouldn’t include their graphics on anyone’s homepage, but I included it here, and now I feel like I’ve done my part. IE6 users get the following message:
If you’re reading this, you’re surfing using Internet Explorer 6, an eight-year-old browser that cannot cope with the demands of the modern internet. For the best web experience, we strongly recommend upgrading to Firefox, Opera, Safari, Google Chrome, or a more recent version of Internet Explorer.
Education is powerful, and the unifying theme on all of these sites and posts is: making your audience aware there are better options available to then, they are more likely to change, especially if you help make the change easy.