IE6 Countdown to 1% usage
A campaign has been recently launched by Microsoft to encourage the reduction in use of Internet Explorer 6. The objective is to the usage of IE6 to only 1% by the end of 2011.
To track the reduction in use the ie6countdown.com website has been launched.
In the year to February 2011 worldwide usage dropped 9% to just 12% . In New Zealand the current usage is just 3.1%.
Internet Explorer 6 was launched 10 years ago and at the time set the standard for browsing the internet. As you can imagine the capabilities of IE6 are considerably less than IE7 (launched October 2006 with Vista), IE8 (launched March 2009 with Vista) and IE9 which has launched this week.
To understand the differences between the versions think of PlayStation. The quality and types of games you could play 10 years a go on the PS1 is remarkably different to the graphics and capabilities of the PS2, which was again taken to another level with PS3. PS3 games are so much more of an experience! It is the same for the browser you use for viewing websites.
Because IE6 has been around so long this has impacted the way websites have been built. Although web developers have been able to design to the capabilities of the modern Internet Browsers such as IE8, Chrome, Safari and Firefox we still had to make sure the website worked in IE6. Can you imagine coming up with a really great design and having to scale it back because it just wouldn’t work in IE6 - very depressing! In most cases the designs can be adapted, but they just don’t look as good and the user experience is so much worse that what was designed. I can tell you from personal experience watching developers try to do this results in much stress and frustration! Because of this many websites with high level designs are not adapted for IE6 and the user is encouraged to upgrade to view the website.
In the past few years web developers have just had to accept this was the situation, but now with Microsoft leading the way, the countdown to reduce the worldwide usage to 1% has begun. New Zealand is well on the way at only 3.1%, considerably ahead of China with a whopping 34.5% in Chinese users, making up around half of the worldwide IE6 use. You can see how it is going and what the stats are for different countries at ie6countdown.com
So why don’t people upgrade? For many it’s just because they don’t know they can! There is no reason why people who are on XP can’t upgrade to IE8. If you are on Windows 7 you upgrade to IE9. There are many benefits of upgrading to a newer version of Internet Explorer – improved speed, tabbed browsing, and better privacy settings to name a few.
So here’s what you can do to help Microsoft reach their target:
Educate your friends, family and colleagues. If you come across anyone using IE6 help them download IE8 on their computer.
Decide that for your website you will only support IE7 and above. For people who try to view in IE6 we’ll create a banner directing them on how to upgrade.