I like to keep track of browser market share, specifically the growth of IE7, so that I can tell when its new CSS features become mainstream enough to start using. This month, I had a bit of a shock.
I’ve based my figures on eight different websites I manage, from personal blogs to international businesses, to try and get a broad range of figures – although they are not, of course, meant to be definitive in any way. I’ve tracked figures back for six months – IE7 was launched in October 2006 – and only included sites with that much historical data.
The figures (click here to see the graph) didn’t surprise me at first. IE7 started at 1.6% in October, had a huge boost to 12.1% in December, and growth has slowed since. Most of its share came at the expense of IE6, which started off with 60.8% and was down to 47.2% by February. But then, in March, IE6′s share increased to 50.6%. I thought I could put this down to an anomaly on one site skewing the results, but in 6 of the 8 sites I monitored, the result was the same – an increase in usage over the last month.
I can’t explain it. It’s like it just refuses to lay down and die.
If we want to move the web forward, we need to encourage people to drop IE6 as soon as possible. As far as I’m concerned, there are very few reasons to still be using it; either you work for a company that deploys software centrally and hasn’t upgraded yet, you’re a developer testing your code, or you don’t really know what a browser is and you’re unaware that other choices are available.
I’m assuming that a reader of this article is a web developer interested in CSS3. If we want to start using all the new opportunities that it creates, we need to kill off legacy browsers that don’t support it. If you’re using IE6 and you have any option whatsoever, switch to a better browser; IE7 at the very least. If you know someone who still uses IE6 and has any option whatsoever, get them upgraded. Evangelise all the options; Firefox, Opera, Flock, whatever; get people switching. Let’s kill this dinosaur off and let the fast mammals evolve to take its place.
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I’m currently in the last development stages of a web project. This project has ‘theme’ support, both built-in and user created. I came to the conclusion that I simply don’t have the resources to get all the different themes working in IE6 and below, so I’ve decided to only ever feed IE6 and below one basic theme that I’ll maintain, whereas all other browsers get whatever theme is specified. Die IE6, die!
Every month I ask the statisticians at my company about IE6. Today I had the same shock as you had. On some of the biggest Dutch consumer sites IE6 usage has grown in the last month.
One reason could be that IE7 is most of all different to the end user. That might be scary to not so experienced users.
Another reason might be that you can only install IE7 when you have a legal copy of XP. But I don’t think XP piracy is that big.
I’ve noticed the same thing for my website (a local newspaper)…well, IE6 usage didn’t increase, but it stayed about the same as last month.
I believe these are the reasons people are sticking or switching to IE6:
- The place they access their computer at doesn’t auto-update, or simply won’t update, and they might not even be aware of other browsers
- They are stuck on Windows 98/2000, as per Robin’s comment (though that accounts for less than 15% of my viewers)
- They DID try IE7, but didn’t like the way it looked, so uninstalled
- They tried IE7, but some website didn’t look/work right in it (bad, bad web developer!)
- They tried IE7, didn’t know what happened to the menu bar, panicked, and uninstalled it (which is really pathetic, but I know it happens).
Maybe by 2012 it’ll be really dead. 2010 if we’re lucky.
[...] I’m off on holiday – back towards the end of April. I’ve written a new post for CSS3.info before I go: Kill IE6 to let CSS3 live. [...]
When evangelizing alternatives I think it’s better to tell the person about one or two options that you think would suit him/her. More might just confuse them, and in the end be counter-productive.
Someone who is UI conservative would probably prefer Firefox to IE7. An IE fanatic (yes, they exist) would probably prefer IE7.
I think another way to start using CSS3 more is to give our clients a choice: either a nice site that works exactly the same for everybody or a really beautiful and much cheaper site for the (growing?) majority; which means an accessible but more or less minimalistic site for IE6 users.
I already started propagating this. Unfortunately, not everybody at my own job is convinced yet…
of course, you’ll have to view the sites in IE6 to see the message. it doesn’t work very well, but it’s better than nothing i guess.
Earlier this year I did a fairly major redesign on one of my personal sites, and realized when I had finished that I was already treating IE6 the way I’d been treating Netscape 4 a few years ago. Anything that worked in IE7 and didn’t trash IE6 made it into my final layout. Unfortunately, I can’t really bust loose until IE6 has followed NS4 into obscurity.
It’s disappointing that so many sites are seeing IE6 bounce back. I haven’t seen it myself, but like Fyrd, I saw it hold steady from February to March.
Perhaps it’s time to revive the WaSP’s old browser upgrade campaign?
Is there an easy way for a user to go back to IE6 once they have upgraded to IE7? An interesting thing to look at in these stats will be, how many new visitors were there?
Might be there was a huge influx of visitors from China and South/South East Asia (the regions were pirated XP and IE6 dominates).
I’m surprised you haven’t taken into the account home user pirate installations.
It seems to be very common theme here, that the recovery CDs that come with computers are usually dangerous by the fact they just delete everything off the hard-drive and install a bunch of crapware which usually prevents windows updates from working properly.
As such often people ask the most tech-worthy person they know for help, which installs something like a corporate version of Windows XP.
Being someone who helps people out a lot with computers, too often do I come-across corporate XP installations on home user computers (which usually have normal XP home licenses glued onto the machines). I believe that is one of the main reasons why IE6 is sticking (IE7 anti-piracy features preventing it from being installed).
I personally know people who uninstalled IE7 after Automatic updates installed it, because they didn’t like the new user interface (and you can’t remove some toolbars at all, officially – I managed to remove them through registry hacks, but one final thing needed to persuade this person to leave IE7 on his computer I wasn’t able to do – move the stop and reload buttons to their original position on the left). I was doing my best to prevent them to rollback to IE6, but they just hated IE7′s interface and they don’t care about the updated rendering engine at all… Maybe Microsoft should at least give people option when they decide to completely change everything in the UI, if they want people to like the new versions.
The IE7 user interface is terrible. Nobody cares about rendering speed — it all renders at the same perceivable speed: fast. IE6 is intuitive.
IE7 is so distasteful. Did they market test that freakish thing?
Firefox is of course better than either. Good luck getting Old Business adopting it though.
Firefox and IE Users: Time to Upgrade | K-Squared Ramblings says:Comment » April 25th, 2007 at 7:30 pm
[...] Explorer 6 is outmoded. It has limited support for the languages that make up the web (particularly CSS), and often [...]
I’ll agree that IE7 wasn’t quite as intuitive, but having used it now since shortly after its release, I’ve discovered that I like it! It just took a little getting used to.
As a developer, though, I also use Firefox and Netscape to make sure I don’t have any problems. I know that we all try to make our sites backward compatible, but isn’t that part of the problem? Maybe we need to pull these people, kicking and screaming, into the 21st century.
If folks are really, really serious about eradicating IE6, use XHTML on your web sites and serve them with the proper MIME type: application/xhtml+xml.
And don’t use content negotiation!
If users are forced to use a browser that supports application/xhtml+xml, IE usage will dwindle dramatically.
We gave the readers of our web site two months’ notice before switching to XHTML and application/xhtml+xml. We might have lost a few readers, but we kept most of them, and a lot of people are no longer using Internet Explorer as a result.
The change we seek will only come by forcing people to switch.
We force our users to rollback to IE6 because IE7 is quite simply awful.
A lot of businesses will roll back and keep with IE6, it is a pain for those of us who want web standards to become more common place but the problem with IE7 is that it breaks almost all the time when network or IT administrators access such things as email web access, routers, ssl vpns, firewalls, print servers etc. remotely and as a majority of business users will only be allowed to use what their IT teams use, IE7 will not be very popular until hardware developers start to conform to web standards when writing their control panel software.
Funny…I’m forcing the users in my department to step up to IE7 because of problems with IE6 (even though campus IT department is sticking with IE6). We’re writing a major web-based application that needs the strengths of IE7.
So far, I haven’t run across the problems you mention, Cep. I have, however, crashed IE7 by getting too many tabs open.
Where does the author live?? In Gates pocket?
Open the window and smell the carnage left behind IE7′s wake.
IE is and will continue to be prone to every terrorist/pissed offnationalist in the world.
But IE7 is more vulnerable than all of them.
“Go back to 6″ is the unanimous advice of every tech site I’ve been to in sewing up my own computers wounds.
No… I’m not in Billy’s pocket. I just haven’t encountered any of the problems that everyone seems to have with IE7. I’ve been running it since Oct 2006 with no problems. I DON’T use Google toolbars and all of the crap I see people adding to their browsers. I also run with tight browser security.
IE is a target for hackers only because it’s the most used. When everyone moves to Firefox, then it will become the target. If you don’t like IE7, then move everyone to Firefox. At least it is compliant with CSS and it beats the hell out of IE6.
I’ve heard of speed issues with IE7…slow page loads, primarily. Turn off the phishing filter. As far as load time of IE7 is concerned, it’s faster than Firefox on my system, and MUCH faster than Netscape. I use all three (plus Opera) to verify compatibilty of web designs. Firefox’s plug-in tools are very helpful in that regard.
Lets be honest if any of us tried openly to say we are not supporting ie6 in web design. Our bosses would just say ok their’s the door don’t let it catch you in the arse on the way out.
I have had clients ring up for the most clueless browsers of all why does’nt this website work in ie5.5 or on mac ie5. Id like to respond with if you use ie5 you do not deserve to use the internet or basicly you are a moron do not ring me you complete freaking idiot. Instead i say ie5 has so much of the market share 0.1 1.5 depending on stats and the idiot who thinks its fun to browse with it.
I will admit i think Ie6 is a lot better for a user experience than ie7. Ie7 makes me feel sea sick with all its harsh gradients was the gui designer color blind? or just thick? A browser should be unnoticeable a background piece. Not like looking into a toilet after a night out with too much beer and a dodge kebab.
I use Firefox because its great for development it has the best rendering engine and overall i feel safe browsing the web.
I have a more interesting idea for dealing with ie6 user’s write a php script with a user agent.Then use a ip detection list their town and their ip to them. Tell them you have found some dodge porn on their drive and they have delete ie6 for good to get rid of this horribleness.
Socially we can get rid of ie6.
Lets make a anti Ie6 six day every year?
I spend averagely 80% of my time fixing Ie6 problems i would not mind if i was fixing them for a good browser like opera or safari. But ie6 it’s the bane of my life. I dread looking in ie6 after having built for firefox,op,saf etc. Ive though about a euphemism’s for Ie6 an explanation to non techs why i hate it so much. The closest i can get is let’s not talk about this otherwise im gonna scream at you and point the finger and say words like buffoon.
A little rhyme for anyone using Ie6
“Here my plea delete IE”
Steel-Software Blog- Blog Archive » Ditch this doctype talk until IE6 is dead says:Comment » March 4th, 2008 at 12:18 am
[...] break (AKA not look right) and the cost of changing it would be too high. Despite numerous calls to let IE6 die, Microsoft continues to ship Windows XP with IE6 installed. With lagging sales of Vista, MS has an [...]
“But I don’t think XP piracy is that big.”
Hahahaha. Yeah I know someone who paid for XP.
“Lets be honest if any of us tried openly to say we are not supporting ie6 in web design. Our bosses would just say ok their’s the door don’t let it catch you in the arse on the way out.”
This is the sad truth. Luckily I make stuff mostly for myself and when I do it for work I hold enough clout to say “let’s use this to convert people to anything but IE” — it doesn’t lose customers ;) because it’s not on pages with the company’s branding on them, and/or not an “e-commerce page”. Really though, on personal pages you should just ditch all ie hacks. Work is a different story but for personal stuff, screw IE.
“I spend averagely 80% of my time fixing Ie6 problems”
– 80%, yup, that’s ther figure I always gave too when I still felt I had to code for Virus Explorer.
“IE is a target for hackers only because it’s the most used. When everyone moves to Firefox, then it will become the target. If you don’t like IE7, then move everyone to Firefox. At least it is compliant with CSS and it beats the hell out of IE6.”
IE is mostly the hacker’s choice because of its market share. MOSTLY. Saying that that is the only reason is just plain wrong. The probability of a bug being discovered in code during its development increases with each developer who views the code. Far more developers see any given component of Firefox than what see the code for any part of IE, so it almost goes without saying that it will be more secure, regardless of market share. The question then isn’t whether or not it’s inherently more secure, but HOW MUCH more secure it actually is.
What’s compliant with CSS? Certainly not IE7. LOL. IE7 supports a good number of selectors but is still months/years behind Firefox/Opera/Safari/Konqueror!! The number of actual properties and values it supports is now much higher, although 60% of what it does now it does incorrectly (and I don’t call that standards support by a long shot)
“I’ve heard of speed issues with IE7…slow page loads, primarily. Turn off the phishing filter.”
And turn on http pipelining… Except that unlike Firefox, Opera et cetera, I don’t think that IE offers that as an option yet, because it’s a living fossil. Oops. (NB pipelining can cause problems sometimes, largely through race conditions, I think. So the question arises, is speed everything?)
“- They tried IE7, didn’t know what happened to the menu bar, panicked, and uninstalled it (which is really pathetic, but I know it happens).”
Actually this was me. IE7 I saw coming for ages, but I never knew what improvements it would offer over IE6. When it did arrive, it had no menu bar, broke even more websites than what its stupid fossil cousin IE6 did, took 999 years to load, and made the Gorgon sisters look ravishing. I didn’t uninstall it, but I did tell some friends of mine to not install IE7 until they got a new computer.
I ate my words telling them not to upgrade though; IE7 is only 8 years behind the current technology, to IE6′s 10 year lag.
Either way though, IE6 is horrid and nobody with half a brain should ever use it (except where forced to at work, and even then if this is you, you should be ashamed of yourself. Get a proper job at a respectable company)
If that’s your site, I think that you should validate your markup ;)
NB the site I link to links to explorerdestroyer.com — explorerdestroyer.com is all well and good except that the code it provides does use browser sniffing (which is faulty and appears for search engines, Opera, etc, etc, etc) so if you use the explorer destroyer code, then you should probably also do a serverside detect (to keep the code out of google’s way) and wrap it in IE conditional comments (to avoid annoying Opera users)
** Yay for IE Conditional Comments!! THE good thing about Virus Explorer!
Крестовый поход против IE6 | rotorweb.ru | Проблемы и решения в Web-дизайне says:Comment » October 17th, 2008 at 2:29 pm
[...] отказаться от него на хабре и на других западных блогах, слегка поддерживаемые веб-разработчиками, но как и [...]
ren buenviaje » Blog Archive » IE6: Real-life Epic Fail says:Comment » November 11th, 2008 at 8:01 am
[...] It usually requires additional code to support the design of a standards-based site. It will not support CSS3 or any other advancements in front-end programming. It’s just plain [...]
Firefox and IE Users: Time to Upgrade « Parallel Lines says:Comment » September 30th, 2009 at 3:02 am
[...] Explorer 6 is outmoded. It has limited support for the languages that make up the web (particularly CSS), and often [...]
Peter would you have believed that three years later this would still be an issue?? Incredible.
The truth is that it is all because of HSBC (the worlds largest bank) and it’s reliance on ie6 for internal stuff and public facing stuff. OK, so that claim is somewhat unfounded, but not completely untrue.
Anyway I hope Microsoft seriously decides to put the ax to the root and kill both ie6 and ie7 when they release ie9. It is truly a shame what they have done to the web development community.
(btw here’s an interesting article…http://www.webdevelopment2.com/hsbc-direct-doesnt-support-firefox-30-another-reason-to-dump-ie-60/)
Its still an issue in 2011! Many companies still use IE6 and also reply on IE7 also.
IE6 and IE7 just has to DIE. But when we make stuffs for those companies, they check the webpage using those old shit ie6/ie7 which they say is the best!
If people use FF/Chrome, the worlds a much colorful and better place! Ditch IE!
As in the conditional tag,
The heavenly beautifully colorful world with many things!
Black and White stone age… Would you want to be in this world!?