IE 6 became the defacto web browser years ago and then stood still. In that time, since it was released, we watched the rise of browsers such as Firefox, Safari, Opera, and now Chrome. These are browsers that have made a steady effort to meet web standards. The result? Internet Explorer, as a whole, has lost almost 50% of its market share.
Microsoft hasn’t stood still, they finally released IE 7 after it became clear that Firefox was eating their lunch, but IE 7 wasn’t good enough. Sure, it copied a bunch of features from the other browsers, but it did diddly-squat for web standards and people noticed. Thus, IE market share continued to erode. There’s a lesson in that: sites are getting sick and tired of having to put in a whole bunch of hacks just to make IE look and behave like every other browser on the market. This appears to be affecting the end user who are starting to see a substandard experience compared to the others and thus started to abandone ship.
Microsoft certainly noticed and has now released IE 8. Interface wise, it’s pretty similar to IE 7, but that’s the end of it. Finally, and it’s about time, Internet Explorer has become substantially more compliant to web standards. What this means, for the user that has been clinging to Internet Explorer, is that the excuses are done. If you don’t want move from Internet Explorer, that’s fine, but you had better damn well upgrade to the latest version and join the rest of us in the modern age.
That goes for IT people as well: get it done. The simple fact is, you guys are the single biggest reason IE 6 is even on the radar of web site development. Enough of it, you’ve had plenty of time to test and so your excuses are also done. I’m sure that I speak for every single web developer on the planet when I say that we’d like to give you a swift kick where it hurts the most because it hasn’t happened.