So, in an interesting turn on a client project, I found myself thinking about Internet Explorer 6 the other day. I know, I know, exciting, ground breaking stuff. For this particular project, we had to backdate browser compatibility to IE7, because a good amount of their end users still use this antiquated browser. That got me thinking, when did IE6 “officially die?” This question led me to the website ie6countdown.com, which turned out to be super informative, and pretty cool. Who knew that 22% of China still used IE6? Crazy!
It seems that most larger American and European sites dropped support for IE6 back in 2008, with some trickle down happening after that. And it makes sense, the need to have a website be compatible with IE6 adds a ridiculous amount of time and energy to a project, that could otherwise be straightforward. Rounded corners? Forget about it. Box shadow? Not on your life. In fact, keeping a site compatible with IE6 these days is so limiting on the technology you can use, you might just consider building an entirely different version of your site if that was indeed a requirement!
So whats the bottom line? Unless you live in China, or your main audience is there, forget about those three dirty words that have plagued designers for oh so long (Internet Explorer Six), and move on with your life. The less than 1% of web users in the US and Europe that still use this hideous browser are probably not visiting your cutting edge website anyway. As for our friends in China, you have our sympathy!
Here is an older, but interesting and well written article on the decline of IE6 over at CSS-Tricks about this as well, if you are interested.