No more (support for) IE 6

As of early March, 2009 we will be phasing out support for Internet Exploer 6 (IE 6). This does not mean you won’t be able to use our site with IE 6. It means that all future improvements and fixes will not be guaranteed to work properly for those still using IE 6 after that point.

There are several reasons we are deciding to do this, the top among them being IE 6’s lack of support for Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) standards. A great deal of the user interface of crowdSPRING is controlled with CSS – the layout, colors, fonts, etc. IE 6 was launched in 2001. The first CSS standard (CSS1) was publised in 1996. The second (CSS2) came in 1998.

Also, IE 6 doesn’t play well with modern JavaScript techniques. Many of the features of crowdSPRING rely on JavaScript to function properly. These two factors alone have cost us (and countless other designers and developers the world over) immeasurable amounts of time and fried brain cells attempting to support IE 6 along side all modern browsers.

Microsoft itself strongly urges all Windows users to make the move to IE 7 (Why should I upgrade?), which, although not perfect, has better support for CSS, JavaScript, and enhanced security features. Internet Explorer in general is the most targeted browser when it comes to spy-ware, viruses and security holes.

In terms of numbers, between May and September, 2008, 7% of people visiting crowdSPRING were using IE 6. In comparison, between October, 2008 and January, 2009, 5% were using IE 6. All the while our user base has been steadily growing, so we are seeing an overall decline in use of IE 6.

We are not the first company to do this. 37signals did so back in October, 2008. It has also been reported that Apple does not support IE 6 for users of its MobileMe service, and Google advised Gmail users to leave IE 6 in the dust at the dawn of the new year.

It’s time to face the music. By continuing to support a seven year old browser we are limiting our ability to create a better user experience on crowdSPRING. We want to make our site easy to use and enjoyable for all involved. We want people to stay on our site. We want people to come back often. We cannot continue to guarantee that experience for a very small portion of our user base and attempt to grow and improve our site at the same time.

There are three modern browsers we can recommend as alternatives to IE 6: Firefox, Safari and Internet Explorer 7. We will continue to completely support these after March, 2009. In the future we also hope to provide complete support for Opera and Chrome, but not at this time.

Want to share your thoughts? This announcement has been posted in the forums as well.