IE 6 == bad

So I’m designing the other day in Firefox and everything is going fine.  My code is clean, simple and rendered correctly.  It looks good and matches the mock I had.  Life is good.  So I fire up Internet Explorer (IE) because, unfortunately, the majority of users still view the web through it.  And not only does it not render anything like Firefox – my beautiful design now looks ugly and out of whack – but it is also broken.  So I now have to take time to utilize hacks to make it render similar – not even alike, just functional – to compliant browsers.  For those of you that don’t know hacks are (typically incorrect) snippets of CSS that are read by less than all of the browsers – I have been using the Holly hack as of late.

As a fan of web standards and accessibility this grates on me.  Not only because IE makes it so difficult to make things accessible unless you use em’s instead of px’s, for one, but also because I spend 25% of my time or more just fixing things that shouldn’t be there in the first place.  That’s time wasted that could be spent making my designs more clean or adding new features.

IE6 has gone from the top browser (many years ago) to now being that uncle that you’re embarrassed to have people meet.  I have heard how many people have adopted IE7 – which I haven’t used much but is much closer to being compliant – but when will it finally be the staple?  When will I stop having to code for IE6?

Unfortunately, professionally, I can’t stop yet.  Depending on which statistics you look at – compare the earlier ones to these for example – IE6 is still used by 42-61% of the users out there.  That kind of majority you can’t ignore as a business.  As an independent designer though, I can.  I’m drawing a line in the sand.  I will be soon upgrading my designing computer(s) to IE7.  After that, none of my templates will be tested in anything lower than 7.  So if you want it to work in 6 and it doesn’t – you’re on your own.  I realize that this may hurt me for sites I list my templates on – like OSWD which just recently got around to uploading the (very bad looking, since I was much more inexperienced then) templates I sent them over 8 months ago – but I simply have stopped caring.  Designing for IE6 is like Microsoft designing a new 360 game and testing it on the original Xbox to make sure it still works – they wouldn’t.

So that’s my line in the sand.  Hopefully more designers will join me and more users will become aware of the fact that there really is better out there.  Firefox and Opera(which I personally prefer) are both excellent browsers and if the user is really sold on IE then 7 is a free update.

I will also be sending OSWD 2-3 more templates (hopefully) in the next week.  No telling when they’ll go up though.  Don’t judge me for the work currently there – you’ve seen that I can do much better now.

Random Tidbit:  Since I’m harping on Microsoft, I wanted to share an interesting article about how the world would be if Microsoft was no longer around.  Don’t think I’ve shared that one yet.  Also, an excellent article on 456 Berea St. citing 10 reasons to learn and use web standards.  As someone who has had to explain why standards are important to both clients and employers, I kind of wish I had this article 7 months ago.