To support or not?

Internet Explorer 6 is an outdated browser. It’s hard to develop advanced interfaces for it. Its quirky support for CSS and proprietary JavaScript is hard to grasp. However, many people still use it.

On the other hand, web developers and web designers are seasoned computer users, which are most of the time after the latest technology — software-wise, hardware-wise, interface-wise. This breed often has several browsers for different contexts.

Ordinary people (who are not dealing with web for money) find it hard to remember browser history stack, don’t need to learn keyboard shortcuts, they don’t know the difference between Comic Sans and Cooper Black, and they don’t know the difference between Internet Explorer and Firefox.

Regular Internet users don’t need Firefox extensions, or care if rounded boxes are done with pure CSS or with background-images…

That is our job — we need to know those differences, and provide the best possible experience.

That’s why CSS people are called experts. They can do miracles, when everything else fails. Any fool can code for the latest browser, but experts take care of every browser with significant share.

Consider this Wikipedia article: Usage Share of Web Browsers.

In the end, let me share some quick numbers from a few random high profile web sites. All of these are in the company of six- and seven-figures visitors/mth.

Coolinarika — Cooking portal
Internet Explorer 62%
— IE 6.0 53% 32.86%
— IE 7.0 46% 28.52%
Firefox 34%
Opera 3%
Croportal — RSS aggregator and news submission site
Internet Explorer 48.90%
— IE 6.0 55.25% 27.01%
— IE 7.0 44.45% 21.73%
Firefox 44.96%
Opera 4.95%
Elektronski Zadar — Regional news portal
Internet Explorer 59%
— IE 6.0 53% 31.27%
— IE 7.0 47% 27.73%
Firefox 37%
Opera 3%
mi3 — Design and web development community
Firefox 59.32%
Internet Explorer 31.29%
— IE 6.0 51.51% 16.11%
— IE 7.0 47.85% 14.97%
Opera 4.94%
QBN — Design community
Firefox 52.72%
Safari 32.73%
Internet Explorer 13.02%
— IE 7.0 62.81% 8.15%
— IE 6.0 37.09% 4.82%

Marko Dugonjić is a designer specialized in user experience design, web typography and web standards. He runs a nanoscale user interface studio Creative Nights and organizes FFWD.PRO, a micro-conference and workshops for web professionals.

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