Internet Explorer 6? Thanks, but no thanks.
Several days ago, I received a newsletter from iStockphoto.com, which made me wonder about current browser trends.Here is the email: Starting in 2010, iStock will begin phasing out support for Internet Explorer 6 or lower. Why? Other than PC World Magazine ranking it the 8th worst tech product of all time, here's our top 5 reasons to upgrade:
- Security continues to be an issue with this legacy browser. We want people browsing to be safe!
- It's slow. Too slow. It's orders of magnitude slower than modern, efficient browsers.
- It's non-standards compliant. This means our developers have to develop an almost completely different version of iStock to run on it.
- It doesn't properly support cool new functionality that you are asking for, and we want to deliver.
- Alternatives are free, fast and easy to download:
- Internet Explorer 7
- Internet Explorer 8 R.C. 1
- Firefox 3
- Safari 3.2
- Google Chrome
iStockphoto will not be supporting Internet Explorer 6 (IE6) starting 2010. My question is, why have they waited so long? The first reason is rather simple; despite the fact that IE6 is an outdated, unsecure and non-standard-complaint browser, 21% of all Internet users still use it. The cause of IE6's popularity among browsers, even those faster and more secure, is that Microsoft bundled IE6 with its operating systems. IE6 was a default browser pre-installed with Windows XP SP1, which quickly became Microsoft’s the most popular operating system. Because of this fact, IE6 rapidly gained a significant share of the browser market. In 2005, IE6 had 82.79% of all internet users. There are several reasons why a company like iStockPhoto would not faze out IE6 faster. One is that by eliminating IE6 from a list of supported browsers, the company will limit the exposure it gets on the web. On the other hand, catering to IE6 audience will slow down iStockPhoto in its development process. iStockPhoto is not the only company experiencing this dilemma, the same is true for the entire web development community. Cross-browser functionality is essential to every website, however, creating a website with the less capable and less secure browser in mind will surely limit possibilities in usability, design, and functionality of the website. My final reason for not supporting IE6 is user experience, or lack there of. Celebrated for its openness, the Internet is truly a vast space given that you are looking at it from the right perspective. IE6 users often find themselves seeing distorted websites, filled with errors and displaced graphics. Jon von Tetzchner, the CEO of Opera, a light and secure browser, openly criticized Microsoft for hindering the progress of The Internet: "Microsoft is abusing its dominant position by tying Internet Explorer to the Windows Operating system and by hindering interoperability by not following accepted Web standards." It is clear that the entire web and browser development community feel the need to phase out IE6. How can this be accomplished? Relatively easily...
- By building websites that do not cater to IE6, we can stimulate users to switch to better, more modern browsers. The more websites that stop supporting IE6, the more people that will be persuaded to switch to better browsers.
- Mozilla Firefox has created spreadfirefox.org; a website that allows individuals to promote Firefox. Firefox is a fast, secure, and free browser that has gained popularity through the grassroots movement of its users.
- The European Union is forcing Microsoft to have Firefox available during the initial installation of its operating system. The United States should follow their example.
- And finally, you, the reader, can contribute to this cause. Switch from IE6 immediately, and tell your friends, relatives, and co-workers to do the same. Do your share to make The Internet a better place for all.
Here is a list of browsers that are standard complaint, safe, fast and free:
It is time to get involved…