In the world of the website designer, there is a dark force abroad, a nemesis of such evil potency that its very existance drives thousands of web designers to suicide each year as its malign existance causes waves of despair across the globe.
Welcome to the IE6 web browser.
Launched by Microsoft in August 2001, it was at the time, a moderately decent bit of kit compared to what else was around.
However, over time, standards (actually, they are just recommendations from the W3C) have changed and websites that want/need a dozen bells and whistles that can only be delivered in a modern web browser can be a nightmare to get to work in IE6.
A web design brief or contract that mandates compatibility with IE6 is going to have web designers jumping off cliffs like a collective of proverbial lemmings as they cry out in horror at the very thought of… get ready for this…
…doing the job they are paid to do.
Yes, it might surprise web designers, but they are not evangalists for the purity of web code, nor are they supposed to be on some mission to deliver the world from the evils of old web browsers – they are there to design a website.
If the client wants to/has to use MSIE6 – and a lot of corporate users still do – then that is the contract requirement and you should just put up with it. After all, that is what you are being paid to do.
Yes, you can say that adding IE6 compatibility will cost X amount more due to the extra effort – but rather than looking at that as a chance to earn more money, the web designer will snarl and moan and put laxatives in the sales departments’ coffee machine.
Because IE6 is quite elderly now – it is nearly ten years old – a lot of young web designers would have never used it as a web browser, nor learnt how to design for it.
But is that the fault of the web browser, or the university that failed to teach them how to design for a piece of software that still has a fairly decent market share?
When faced with this dinosaur that takes one look at the latest version of CSS style sheets and vomits all over their computers, rather than just getting on with it, they march en-mass to Speakers Corner to eulogise about the evils of Microsoft and the holy purity of Apple and Firefox.
Now, if for some reason I have to use IE6, then I have to use IE6, and it is your job to make sure your website works on my computer – not my job to change my IT system just to be able to log into my bank account or buy a book online.
- Yes, it is an outdated bit of software.
- Yes, it doesn’t understand modern CSS code – then again, try playing your iTunes songs on a 10 year old Sony Walkman.
- Yes it is going to have security holes in it. But…
…for whatever reason, it is what the customer is using.
Please, stop whining about IE6 and just get on with your jobs.
I still have a working copy of Netscape 3 on my computer.