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IE6 – Is it Worth the Expense?

February 8, 2010

Lately, our team here has been discussing Microsoft Internet Explorer 6. IE6 was a top-of-the-line browser way back when it first appeared ten years ago. Since then a lot has changed. It doesn’t support much of the new technology (HTML5), is cumbersome, and recently has been criticized for its security flaws. In the last year Facebook and YouTube have announced that they’re cutting back on IE6 support. This year Google will slowly phase out support. This will allow these companies to stay with the latest trends and reduce the extra expense. Now that the big companies are moving is it time for your company to drop support for IE6? Let’s find out…

How to determine if your company should keep your site compatible in IE6…

Developing and maintaining websites that render properly in IE6 cost your company money. For smaller or pre-existing sites the cost would be minimal. When considering upgrades, additions or a brand new site get separate quotes for IE6 support. These types of modifications can be costly.

For clients with pre-existing sites you might want to know if your development team should keep providing support. The best place to find the answer is to look at your analytics. A popular tool used by many is Google Analytics. Google provides the whole kit and caboodle of statistics about your website’s visitors. There you can find how many of your visitors are using Internet Explorer 6.

Before closing the book on IE6 find out how loyal your users are…

Budgets, demographics, revenue, expenses, and much more makes each business different. Before coming to a conclusion review your analytics and consult with the development team. Cutting costs could cause a backlash and hurt revenue. Look at the following example of a sales agency. Help them decide if their IE6 visitors are loyal and worthy of the expense.

Google Analytics Browser Version 6Using Google Analytics you can view how many visits are coming from IE6 users.

The above example represents a sales agency. Their agents work on commission and prefer not to miss out on any opportunities. In the last 30 days over 2,000 visits have come from IE6 users. On average, they spend over four minutes while visiting almost eight pages each. They seem to have a loyal following and it would justify keeping the site compatible with Internet Explorer 6.

What you should do…

In 2010 changes are going to happen quickly. Keep an eye on your stats. With Google Analytics you can view a month-to-month comparison. Watch as IE6 users become fewer and fewer. Think about setting a goal and when the numbers dip down to a certain level then drop all support.

Conclusion

Becoming more familiar with analytics and IE6 will help you make some wise expense decisions. Maybe this year will be the year your team discusses Internet Explorer 6? Us, along will many other developers can’t wait until the day IE6 is resting in peace (RIP).