Should You Phase Out IE 6 Testing as Designer?

Did you ever hear the story of the Zen Master?  I think we need to wait and see.  IFwe get a huge drop in IE 6 requests, THEN we can begin phasing it out completely from our testing.

But IE 6 Sucks!

Yes, it does.  But losing business sucks more.  Spending a few more hours on a site can help the client.  For each client, I think we need to check their server logs and determine their traffic.  It takes about 3 minutes of work to determine their audience and will help our clients.

  • If a client has a HUGE population of IE 6 users (like 10% or more), then we have to still code for them.  I could easily see this happening if our clients have older customers, lower socio-economic customers, or customers in developing countries.  Why?  Because they probably have older computers.
  • If they have a 5% or less share we can just drop features and make small work arounds.
  • If they have a 1% market share we can just ignore completely – just like we do for poor Opera.

My Gut Feeling

I have a sneaky feeling that it will be not a dramatic drop as we want.  I would love to see our server stats go from 4.6% to 0% in the next few months.  I just don’t think it will happen. I think it will continue trending down, but by next year we will only be a few percentage points lower.

Big Question – Our Web Site and Our Clients Sites

The big question is should we cater to 4.6% of our audience.  I ran our numbers and that is the number of visitors that came back – see attached chart.  I say yes, we should still provide a solid experience in IE6.  However, we can kill any fancy features and just do basic things.

In the last month we had 700 visitors in IE 6.  That is quite a few people (20 to 30 a day).  We had an inquiry just today from an IE 6 user.  Yes, I know a mere coincidence, but still there are people who don’t use it.   Would you design your store or restaurant to exclude 5% of your traffic?  No.

I did run a report and since August we have had 40 inquiries with IE6 as the browser (about 8% of our overall inquiries via the web form).  So, would we want to lose 8% of our business?  At this time, I don’t think we would want to do that.


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