The decline of IE6

By David Pratt / Tags: , / 2 Comments / Published: 13-05-09

Every Monday morning I rather sadly look forward to my companies Omniture powered weekly technology report. Love a bit of stat. Now, the site that I currently work for has close on half a million unique UK visitors a week from a demographic which is largely women between the ages of 16 to 40. If we are led to believe what the majority of reports on the web say out there, then it’s obvious that browser usage varies wildly depending on where the data is collected from.

There has been a lot of chat on the interweb recently about not supporting IE6, or at least offering a poorer experience for ease of development (which is what it essentially boils down to).  I don’t agree with this, I think if people want to use a rubbish browser, let them, but don’t lock them out! We can try and educate them into an upgrade, but we should never force them into it.

Anyway, back to my weekly technology report.  I thought it might be a good exercise to take our broad cross section of browser data and put it into some form of readable chart so that we can hopefully draw some conclusions as to when IE6 will no longer become an issue.  This is what the “women of the UK” web browser statage looks like:

Graph to show main browser usage.

Graph to show main browser usage.

If we discount the major player in IE7, the graph becomes a bit more useful:

Graph to show browser usage excluding IE7

Graph to show browser usage excluding IE7

If we then add a trend line to the IE6 line:

Graph to show browser usage with IE6 trendline

Graph to show browser usage with IE6 trendline

The trend line intersects point the x-axis at 04/08/2010.

We’re not that far away from washing our hands with IE6 – a little over 12 months if you follow the trend! I wouldn’t get too excited just yet though, I very much doubt it will entirely bottom out as there will still be the anti-upgrade brigade, and those that can’t because of real or perceived barriers. This will mean that progressive enhancement will remain just as important as it is now for the foreseable future. We must be careful as conscientious developers not to bov IE6 off and jack-off over our canvas elements just yet.

Further reading:
John Resig raises some good points in his post Determining Browser Market Share

Category: Tech

Tags: ,

Posted: on May 13th, 2009 at 1:47 pm.

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2 Responses to “The decline of IE6”

Reece Marsland May 18th, 2009 at 10:08 am

Good read. Definitely gotta support the IE6 users, no matter how painful…


Charlie Vaughan May 22nd, 2009 at 1:03 am

I can remember saying when IE7 came out that I could see it being five years before IE6 fell out of use. I was met with derisory comments by work mates who pointed out that people would be encouraged to upgrade though Microsoft’s automatic updates. And now they’re saying the same thing about IE8.

I was wrong.

It’s going to be ANOTHER five years before people stop using it. And as much as I would like to stop supporting IE6 today it just doesn’t make much business sense, while there’s going to be a hardcore of about 5% of users who can’t / won’t upgrade for years to come.

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