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But The Client Wants IE 6 Support!

Frequently, when I discuss CSS3 with other developers, the issue of stubborn clients comes up. They tell me that even though they personally don’t think a website should look the same in all browsers and they’re eager to try all of these new techniques, their clients insist that their website should look the same, so the developers are stuck with the same Web development techniques that we used five to ten years ago. Their clients just don’t “get” graceful degradation.

Is this really the issue? Are our clients incapable of understanding these things? Is the problem that our clients don’t “get” the Web and need to be educated? I don’t think so. We got ourselves into this. We are the ones who caused this problem for our industry. We are the ones giving ourselves this trouble and making our profession less creative and enjoyable than it could be. It’s entirely our fault and no one else’s.

Further Reading on SmashingMag: Link

Wait, What? Link

If we choose to make a website pixel-perfect in Internet Explorer 6 to 8, then we are doing up to 100% more work. No matter how many frameworks, polyfills and other scripts we use to ease our pain, we will always be doing at least 30% more work for those browsers. How many of us actually charge 30-100% extra for this work? I haven’t heard of many who do. Clients get this kind of extra work for free, so of course they will say that they want IE 6 support. If I was a client, maybe I’d say so, too, especially if I didn’t know how these technologies work. They won’t care about our extra time if we don’t care enough ourselves to charge for it accordingly.

Of course, faster download times and better SEO are compelling arguments, but let’s face it: one of the biggest advantages of the new CSS features and new JavaScript APIs is the huge chunk of development time they save us, including making maintenance easier and quicker. As long as that doesn’t translate to reduced costs, clients will not care. And that’s perfectly understandable and natural.

Money always wins.5
Money always wins the argument. (Image: HikingArtist6)

I don’t do much client work these days, but every time I’ve taken on a client project in my career, I’ve always presented options for browser support to my client. They want pixel perfection in IE 7? It will cost them more. They want IE 6 support? It will cost double. I explain to them that this is because I will have to do double as much work for this browser. I’ve never had a single client opt to pay more to fully support older browsers. If it doesn’t come free, you’d be surprised at how many don’t care about it as much as you think. But even if they do, at least I will have enough motivation to do it without hating them, my job, browser makers and the universe. It’s fairer for everyone, including me.

“They’ll Just Go To Another Professional Who Doesn’t Charge Extra” Link

Whatever you do, don’t let the client think that you are charging extra for doing the same work as another professional. Not only will that look bad, but it’s also inaccurate. Explain to them that you just want to give them options and not decide on your own which browsers to support and charge for accordingly, without ever involving them in the process and letting them have a say about it.

How Much More? Link

You might have noticed that I implied above that supporting old Internet Explorers requires 30 to 100% more time. That’s a huge range, isn’t it? Actually, it should be even wider. I remember a case of a client coming to me with a CSS challenge that his developers weren’t able to solve. Making something that worked in modern browsers took me half an hour, then an hour to make it work in IE 8, and then three(!) more hours to get it to work in IE 7. Who knows how much longer it would’ve taken if I had to support IE 6, too! And that wasn’t the only occasion when it took me very little time to build a prototype that works in modern browsers and then a grossly disproportionate amount of extra time to make it work the same way in old Internet Explorers. If you’ve been in the field for more than a year, I’m sure this has happened to you, too.

On the other hand, if you don’t use any modern technology and you stick to CSS 2.1, then I guess you would only have to face the old IE bugs, which would take some extra time but not double. Or, if you used a ton of frameworks and polyfills, you would still have to spend some time making them work together and debugging potential conflicts, but still not double the time. 30% was an estimate for cases like those.

As you can see, the range is huge and depends on a number of different factors, including but not limited to the following:

  • You
    How modern are your development techniques? The more cutting-edge they are, then the more effort you will need to put into making good fallbacks or coming up with alternative techniques for old Internet Explorers (but less effort to make the original prototype)
  • The project
    If it’s a brochure website, the main thing that will need extra effort in order to work in old IEs is the styling. If it’s a Web application, it gets way trickier (and more time-consuming).
  • Level of support
    Supporting a browser is not black and white, either no support or full support. How good your fallbacks need to be will greatly determine how much extra time you have to spend on them.

So, I’m sorry but I can’t tell you how much extra you will need to charge to support old Internet Explorers. You’ll have to decide yourself, case by case, taking all relevant factors into consideration.

“But What If They Just Want To Pay For Firefox?” Link

Of course, there is a baseline of browser support that I won’t go below, even if the client doesn’t want to pay for it. We have a responsibility to ourselves and to the Web to follow the principle of universality7. Even if a client wants to pay only for Firefox support, for example, my responsibility is to ensure that the website is still functional in the other browsers. Even if they are not willing to pay for mobile support, my responsibility as a Web developer is to at least add some media queries and make it decent there. Even if they don’t care about accessibility, my responsibility is to make the website somewhat accessible. These things don’t take up much time anyway, and they should be factored into even your lowest price.

So, What To Do With Old IEs? Link

So, what do I do for those wise clients who don’t want to pay for support of old Internet Explorers? Usually, I try to keep graceful degradation in mind and provide decent fallbacks for old browsers, so that at least the content is accessible in them. But in cases of really naughty browsers, like IE 6 and 7, sometimes even graceful degradation doesn’t work very well. Then, what I usually do is split my CSS into three files:

  • base.css
    Fonts, basic colors, etc.
  • screen.css
    Everything specific to the screen. Most of the CSS goes here.
  • print.css
    Print-specific styles, such as for hiding contact forms, etc.

Then, I just don’t serve screen.css to IE 7 and below. They get something like a print style sheet, without the hidden elements. It’s not very pretty, and it’s not modern, but at least they get the content. The same could be done with JavaScript. Check whether an API is present before using it, or simply don’t serve those script files to old Internet Explorers. If you’ve coded your JavaScript properly and it’s unobtrusive and all, then old browsers won’t get that extra functionality, but they won’t get JavaScript errors and broken functionality either. All of those require minimal effort on your part.

“Does That Mean I Always Have To Charge Less For Using Modern Stuff?” Link

While discussing my point of view with another developer, he asked me, “So, you’re saying that I shouldn’t charge more if I use responsive design and add a bunch of media queries?” Absolutely not! I’m not saying we should feel sorry for being cutting-edge or punish ourselves for that with less income! What I’m barely advocating is the common-sense idea of charging more for more hours of work. If you code some JavaScript that does the same thing that media queries do, then of course you should charge more for the JavaScript, because it will take you more time. But if you weren’t going to do anything like that, and the media queries were icing on the cake, then of course you should charge them more than you would for a non-responsive version of the website.

Conclusion Link

We may love what we do, but we certainly don’t love catering to the whims of old browsers. We do a lot of extra work to hide their incompetence, and that work needs to be compensated for properly. You don’t have to work for free, especially on something you don’t like doing. Explain the situation to your clients and they’ll understand how it goes, I promise. After all, “extra work = higher costs” is an established rule in every industry. The concept is not hard to grasp, and it makes the benefit of modern Web technologies much more tangible for technologically unsavvy clients.

What do you think? Link

How do you account for browser support in the pricing of your work? Do you charge extra for legacy browsers or do you provide a basic version of the design to legacy browsers? Let us know and leave a comment!


Footnotes Link

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Lea is currently busy doing research in Human-Computer Interaction at MIT CSAIL. She has previously written an advanced CSS book for O’Reilly (CSS Secrets) and worked as a Developer Advocate at W3C. She has a long-standing passion for open web standards, and is one of the few Invited Experts in the CSS Working Group. Lea has also started several popular open source projects and web applications, such as Prism, Dabblet and -prefix-free and maintains a technical blog at Despite her academic pursuits in Computer Science, Lea is one of the few misfits who love code and design equally.

  1. 1

    It seems like a fairly common sense approach to, what is becoming, the most annoying part of webdesign: supporting a browser which should have died many years ago!

  2. 2

    So long as you make it a business case then generally the client will agree, if your reason for not supporting IE6 is that you don’t like it then you will have a lot of pain in this industry :)

    Cool article Lea

  3. 3

    Amanda Soehnlen

    November 3, 2011 5:59 am

    One of the things that I’ve found the most helpful is that if you can get some analytics, don’t say ‘327 out of 16,384 visitors use Internet Explorer 6’ because 327 people is still a large amount when you think about it -AS PEOPLE-. If you asked someone what % 327 is of 16384, they’re going to inflate the %, because 327 is a relatable number of people – you can invision it – and 16 thousand is not.

    If you say ‘2%’, that helps keep it in perspective. It’s even better if it’s like my situation, where IE6 users are only 0.5% of our total visitors.

    • 4

      Excellent, excellent point!! I love such small but very real insights in human psychology.

    • 5

      Sam Parmenter

      November 8, 2011 8:29 am

      I agree to an extent but you are trying to mislead the customer into agreeing with you. Its not quite so cut and dry in most cases when it comes to IE.

      What if you have a large client whose workforce is limited to IE6 but their business makes up 30% of your revenue. Purely statistically they may represent 0.5% of users but if you ignore them you won’t be losing 0.5% of revenue.

      I know that showing them numeric figures that represent that same user base won’t be strictly any different but as you say, 350 sounds like a large number of people even if it is a very small percentage of the user base.

      We need to understand the clients needs and also the context in which they sit to be able to honestly and accurately provide them with the best site for their business.

  4. 6

    I’m not 100% sure that supporting IE7 and * is actually “extra work”. A lot of our clients won’t have a very good grip on the web – some don’t even know that there are other browsers exist apart from Internet Explorer. I agree with you that it does take a LOT longer to support older browsers and doing it is a pain in the a**, just not sure whether it consitutes extra work or work to be included in a project anyway?

    I like the comment above about using analytics to support your case on browser usage.

    • 7

      The overarching problem, I think, is that it’s a vicious cycle – we support the older browsers, making them continue to “work,” even when they shouldn’t, because that’s what the customer wants; the customer wants that support, because the older browsers “still work,” even when they actually don’t (thanks to us making it that way).

      Even in the case of the large enterprises (which make up the lion’s share of at least the US IE6 following), they fight to keep IE6 because it’s what “works” with their software and upgrading even to IE7 will break another mult-million-dollar title (regardless of the fact that the software arguably never really “worked” to begin with, because it was so utterly dependent on a very specific version of another software title, making it defective by design).

      • 8

        Sam Parmenter

        November 8, 2011 8:40 am

        That is an interesting topic of discussion I think. I have seen a number of very expensive systems that keep a company on IE6 or 7 for fear of breaking everything if they upgrade. The system itself is not not very complex or well built but regardless of its true value, if you have paid £2 million for a system, that it how much you believe it to be worth.

        We worked with a bowling company who’s software cost a small fortune and we were quoting £20,000 to replace it with a better system. They didn’t want to believe that they had paid crazy money for the old system that was only worth a fraction of what they paid.

        Large companies with deep pockets are usually the culprit in these matters.

  5. 9

    Recently, my work place and I stopped supporting IE6. All of our clients request browser support to IE7+. Also, I figured that the only way to make people stop using IE6 is by forcing them to upgrade. So, the websites that I build usually have a redirect custom page error that tells the user that their browser is out of date, and provides them with links to the latest browsers to upgrade.

    I think if we all start forcing users to upgrade, we can eventually kill IE6!!!! If people can protest in millions to take down their leaders and governments, we sure can start blocking IE6 users to make them upgrade…

  6. 10

    Totally agreed!

    • 11

      Dennis Jenders (@djenders)

      November 7, 2011 11:17 am

      The problem here is not that we should be charging extra, but that as professionals we should know the requirements going in. If you know that 20-30% of visits are coming from IE6 or IE7 then you will be able to properly quote the project from the beginning.

      The real problem is that many designers are only concerned with design masturbation and that many front-end professionals only want to do cutting edge work with CSS3.

      The reality is that if the site is primarily about consuming content it doesn’t need to be over designed or over worked in HTML5 and CSS3. I’m all about pushing standards forward. As professionals we should be mad at W3C and the lack of getting new standards out quickly. That combined with the decline of IE that we are seeing could help jump start innovation again in the browser world.

      When I started back in 1994 we had new HTML rules and markup happening every six months. Nowadays it’s about plugin architecture, socializing the browser and other non-critical improvements.

  7. 12

    You couldn’t say that much clearer! I agree.

  8. 13

    lol I haven’t read the article yet but just had to comment… I arrived on the page, saw the title and couldn’t help but LOL.

    (Beavis voice) “DIE IE! DIE!!”…

    • 14

      And now that I’ve read it, I completely agree… charging them more is completely appropriate. We should have been doing this from the beginning!

  9. 15

    ho! ho!
    Yeah… it is happening. Client don’t want to lose the share of the less tech savy customers.. who still prefer to stick to IE6. In asian countries.. IE6 still has the share!

    So, more or less.. run or hide..! Some client deliberately want the support for IE6!

    • 16

      The question is then do those viewers contribute any revenue to your company.

      If they don’t, who cares?

    • 17

      Tech savy is not really relevant, if your customer’s primary customer is mostly corporate users, it can come down to an upgrade cost. I have one customer that 38% of page hits still come from IE6 and their business is primarily US based. Corporate structure is such a burden at times.

      • 18

        I work on a huge webapp in a company that sells only to corporate users. We currently only support IE9, not even IE8 because the cost of including new machines with an OS that supports IE9 is much lower for my company than to pay developers to support older versions as well.

    • 19

      Lets face it in Asian countries IE6 only has majority share because of the prevalence of cracked windows os in use. If they can’t upgrade because they are using illegal software who cares?

  10. 20

    John McClumpha

    November 3, 2011 5:53 am

    Always an interesting, and often challenging position to be in with clients. The approach we take is to support current major, and previous major release of chrome/firefox/ie/safari by default with others (charged for) upon request, with the proviso that support is via graceful degradation, rather than 100% consistency. Of course the issue of how to best handle different resolutions, particularly with the rise in mobile device use, comes into play on top of all this.

  11. 21

    Johan van Tongeren

    November 3, 2011 5:57 am

    Good article and I do agree on charging more for the extra work involved in supporting older browsers. They difficulty is in selling this the client. You’ll have explain them why IE6 is more expensive. Why they didn’t pay extra when they had theire old website built and now they do have to.

  12. 22

    Unfortunately, that’s true…

  13. 23

    Agreed… Thanks for conclusion :D

  14. 24

    Hi Lea,
    Very interesting write-up, nice job!

    I like the approach of putting a quantative cost on supporting old browsers to help explain to clients, the varying degrees of support of cross browser support.

    Though one important thing to remember, is that in theory the client shouldn’t even need to make descisions of cross-browser compatibility. It is the responsibility of the developer to do appropriate research (in collaboration with the client) into the website’s target audience to help determine an appropriate plan for levels of support.

    For example:

    Perhaps a client has a really great idea for a council tax management application for local authorities to use. But they do not want to support IE6, as they are on a budget. However research would find that UK government is using IE6, so IE6 support would then be crucial for rollout.

    Whereas on the other extreme a client wants a “tech blog” created for them. Then the sites audiance is likely to be tech savy and running the latest browsers.

    So the client shouldn’t really be given the choice for what browsers are supported per-say, instead the web developer in their proposal should contruct a “support table” appropriate to the clients needs and provide a balanced quote reflecting support. A nice example is a support table that the BBC have contructed

    However of course clients have budgets that they need to adhere to, so I love the idea of giving them quantitative costs to browser support. But this should be backed up with what the web developer’s research uncovers. So then the client can make informed descisions on where they wish to spend there money e.g. if pixel perfect support IE6 will only help 1% of their audience and it’s going to cost them 10% more, then they probably won’t go for it.

    Great write up, it got me thinking, keep up the good work.


    • 25

      I totally agree. You have to take traffic into account, not just gripe about having to do something the “old way”. This article is merely about increasing charges for work you don’t want to do as a way to buy yourself out of coding something correctly for today’s traffic patterns where there are easier methods (for half the traffic) that cause you less headache.

      Will you risk your client’s visitors perceiving a lack of quality in her company 40% of the time because you want to take the easy way out.

      Stats for a consumer site may well be in the 40% range for IE 6/7/8 usage. You’re telling me you’re not going to design for them because it’s too difficult? You shouldn’t be putting the client in that situation to listen to you basically tell her that’s she’s not intelligent for wanting to support 40% of traffic with nice design details. Worst case, you don’t realize that IE traffic (being average consumers) accounts for most of her online business, and you may be borderline negligent in leading her to believe you.

      If design is in the details, let the traffic stats guide your decisions. While you can attempt to “educate” a client, you cannot “educate” her site visitors. It just needs to work. It just need to reflect her brand the same crossbrowser. You’re just not taking that seriously. I’m starting to sense that this “education” is ingenuine and merely letting the client know what’s easiest for us.

      Do you see or NOT concern themselves with IE7. No, you don’t. Why? Because they want their brand to be reflected well crossbrowser. I hope that blows your mind. Crossbrowser branding. It’s all in the details that you don’t want to take the time to work out, the corner pngs, the shadow pngs, the IE filter styles.

      If you overuse css3 box-shadows and text-shadows and border-radiuses and rgba, then you really risk your client’s site looking like a dog in 40% of browsers to their potential customers. If those 40% of customers get the feel that this design isn’t as nice as another company’s (a company that put the time in), they may perceive a lack of quality in this site and go to the other company.

      Will you risk your client’s visitors perceiving a lack of quality in her company 40% of the time because you want to take the easy way out.

    • 26

      Great point Alex,

      I’m an in-house web developer for the UK’s National Health Service, the hospital where I’m based only uses IE6. This means that although I’m responsible for developing our external website (more people use IE9 than IE6 to view it) I find myself ensuring IE6 compatibility because my manager and others in the hospital use IE6.

      The NHS (and I imagine the rest of the public sector) are starting to go to IE7 (not much of an improvement) as the companies that provide the web apps that we use have updated these apps to be compatible.

      Excellent story and a great way to start the work day!

  15. 27

    I totally agree, but what about a project in a big organisation (> 100.000 users) and 2000 web-users a day, where the default browser (and almost the only one) ie7 is….?!
    Even upgrading to ie9/10 is a pain in the ass :(

    • 28

      Petar Subotic

      November 3, 2011 6:46 am

      Koos touched on a important alternative that the article overlooked, and that is including an option to encourage the visitors upgrade to a new version.

      There are some really neat solutions out there, like this one from Microsoft:

      • 29

        I didn’t overlook it, I just don’t think it’s relevant.

        Also, in my experience most users just ignore these notifications. :(

    • 30

      That’s where you let the stats for your particular site and circumstances guide you, particularly if you’re stuck with that situation (ie – you’re an employee vs a potential contractor; or it’s an otherwise very lucrative gig).

      The problem with articles such as Lea’s is that there are always fringe cases. When speaking generally, such as in this article, the assumption is that the sum usage of the modern browsers are the majority (and for Chrome and Firefox, in particular, this is a pretty safe assumption, thanks to quiet updating), because this article isn’t just written for here and now, but will remain visible and will be referenced for years to come. If you have the stats for your particular site, though, it then comes down to what your needs are. If the vast majority of your users never see something more modern than IE7, then you’re probably better off baselining for IE7 and maybe “rewarding” users of newer browsers with touches of progressive enhancement.

      Even then, though, you actually *are* setting your baseline for IE7, instead of the modern browsers. And doing so is akin to setting your baseline support for any other application to 32-bit Windows XP or Windows 2000, because that’s what your client has, versus setting your baseline support to 64-bit Windows 7 and backporting to 32-bit and Windows XP.

  16. 31

    I think the higher cost will depend on what you are building. I work with a team that recently made the decision that ie 6 was not supported. The result, even horizontal floating lists are broken. If you’ve coded through ie 6 life span, most things will just work. Jquery will work. Most layout issues will be fixed with position relative and display inline. So higher cost, I say only if there’s cutting edge stuff that will require you to do extra work. Otherwise, the client wants it, the client gets it.

    • 32

      Exactly. Totally agree. Most truly experienced developers already have worked these techniques out including filters to make pngs and png bg’s work in IE6, etc, like we do. It’s basic stuff from site to site for someone with true experience.

  17. 33

    Totally agree with this. We’ve recently started not supporting IE6 as standard, with us instead adding additional charges if the client wants it supported.

    Some clients, such as the public sector have to have IE6 support because many of them are still running Windows XP with IE6, and will need it to both view and manage a CMS, but generally we are finding our clients are happy with graceful degredation.

    It does help that Microsoft themselves are keen for the browser to go as well (, and that along with stating the market share that IE6 has, as Amanda pointed out, means that clients will generally agree.

  18. 34

    An interesting post.

    I approach it from a different angle because saying you’ll charge double to support multiple browsers never goes down to well.

    I say something like this:

    “To get this site to work across a lot of old browsers will probably mean you will need to scale back on the fancy things you wanted on the site. We may have to use decade old scripts and techniques to make sure it will work in decade old browsers. We need to make this site as no-thrills as possible to get the site built in the time-scale / budget available.”

    Usually that’s enough to make them REALLY think about it. More importantly it triggers the RIGHT questions like “Why?” or “What’s the alternatives?”. You get to the same point as this post but you do it in a way that doesn’t make the client run straight for the door :)

    • 35

      If you’re only making it really fancy for 50-60% of visitors who may not even be the target average consumer, what is the point?

  19. 36

    Just an idea to show how obsolete IE6 is. That year – in 2001 – NOKIA released 3320, 6310, 5510 and 7650 ( 4mb memory, 176x208px display ). Try to use facebook or youtube on those phones, this is how old IE6 is.

    • 37

      Adam Coulombe

      November 3, 2011 4:21 pm

      completely irrelevant?!

      • 38

        I’d say completely relevant. Most people don’t realize that computer technology has a significantly smaller lifespan than most other things. Therefore, they need an analogy they can relate to, one where they understand that a given time frame may not seem like much, but is a lot for a given item.

  20. 39

    It’s an interesting approach. You’d almost want to give clients a list of browsers and have them check which browsers they want support for. In essence; checking more boxes equals charging more. I’d support that!

    However, to single out IE6 is understandable, but only covers the surface. In my experience, making a site work in IE6 is not that painful. Maybe the sites I make are not that advanced, maybe the way I code is smart enough for IE6 to (mostly) understand it, I don’t know…but I never have to spend all THAT much time to fix IE6 issues. Definitely not 30-100% (more like 10% perhaps?).

    I personally get more headaches from making things work in Safari iOS, but in fairness, those are not really CSS3/modern issues. I fully agree that it will take craploads of work to make CSS3 effects work in IE6 of course, that DOES take 30-100% extra.

    But I’m sure that was the point of this article anyways. I just got carried away a bit, cause one of my pet peeves is that people blame IE6 too easily too often. ;)

    • 40

      Agreed. It’s a small amount of time for an experienced designer/developer. Browsers are what they are. Traffic patterns are what they are. IE is 50%+ total on consumer sites. Is it the client or the designer trying to shrug that responsibility off?

  21. 41

    This is an approach we have been using for a while and have now adopted the same technique for BB support also. Anything less than BB6, if you want total ubiquity, it is going to be additional and typically @ T&M. This allows us to estimate for the client, but not necessarily charge double by default, while creating less risk on our part. Generally we support this approach with stats to back up what they are paying for. For example, if you would like to reach that X% of your target audience that are still using XXX, that will be an extra $XX,000. This way they can decide if the juice is worth the squeeze.

  22. 42

    IE 6 is an old browser…we definately don´t support it anymore. Bad luck for the client…BUT….we try to provide at least no broken layout with IE 6. AND you have to tell the client about that before doing any work :)

  23. 43

    90% of the Sprint stores use IE 6 – WHY? – Guess how I found out and guess where we were in the project when I found out?

    It had a happy ending but it took many, many hours, and don’t forget it took many hours and that’s because it took many hours to get the CSS working with it.

  24. 44

    Me: Hi! I just sent the project of the new website to you. Have a look and tell me what you think.

    Client: WHAT? It’s broken, I don’t like it. It’s crap.

    I go to visit them and they have 20 computers there. All running IE6.

    • 45

      Welcome to the real world. Traffic patterns show 50%+ of front-end users on consumer sites will have IE 6/7/8/9. How many of those support the CSS3 style you used?

      If the site in those browsers reflects poor quality, think about what you’ve done to that client’s business as perceived by 50% of its site visitors.

      • 46

        Saying that 50% of website users use IE 6-9 is the same as saying 50% of users use some version of any of the non-IE browsers out there.

        What you need to do is determine how much of the market share *one specific version* uses the site (for example, IE 6). When it drops below a certain threshold (or some other trigger, such as Microsoft dropping support, or the technology being a certain number of generations beyond its capabilities), you make support for that opt-in and charge more.

        How much you charge depends on how much more work your style requires. If your work is heavy in the CSS3 and/or HTML5, but it’s largely rounded corners and box shadows, or the new basic elements (article, aside, header, footer, etc), then the common shim libraries, such as CSS3PIE and HTML5Shiv, are probably all you need and won’t take much more work to implement, so your cost might only go up 5-10%. On the other hand, if you’re doing a lot with media queries, self-hosted web fonts, storage, canvas, etc., then your time and cost might go up as much as 300%. Again, this is dependent on the site’s actual browser share distribution. If you’re trying to use bleeding-edge, advanced HTML5 on a site that’s used almost entirely by people using IE8 or below, then it’s your own fault for using the wrong technology for the job. However, if the grand total of users to the site with, say, IE6-8 is less than 5%, then you could use those techniques and charge more for the legacy support.

        • 47

          Just my 2p but I think “we” should use caustion when quoting “5% of this” or “1% of that” – lets not forget that 1% of a big number is still a big number. Percentages are bent and misused in advertising e.g. “90% of women noticed a difference” – Wow! 90%!!… then the small print… “187 women surveyed”…

          • 48

            Our 53% number was of 1.7 million page views across 1550 front-end sites over the last 2 months and over 500,000 unique IPs.

  25. 49

    Good article, but I think it glosses over the importance of trying to educate (in *plain English*) clients as to why there are significant disadvantages to IE6 support and why there are very strong arguments why they don’t need to pursue it.

    Otherwise you can arguably have a situation where you’re charging for IE6 support because you need the work, and you’re not making clear enough to clients that they’re doubling their fee in exchange for making their site available to an addition 2-3% of people (yes, it’s more work, but many freelancers just need *any* work).

  26. 50

    Laurie Onorio

    November 3, 2011 7:07 am

    This is such an obvious answer to this tiring argument and I’m embarrassed we didn’t think of it sooner. I have a feeling this will make future projects much more enjoyable and/or profitable. Please keep dropping these knowledge bombs-they’re awesome.

  27. 51

    The best comment I get…

    “But the NHS still use IE6 and can’t upgrade, so why not have the all singing all dancing web app support it out of the box”…


  28. 52

    Alexander Trefz

    November 3, 2011 7:14 am

    “Even if they are not willing to pay for mobile support, my responsibility as a Web developer is to at least add some media queries and make it decent there.”

    This is sweet. And completely impossible. My boss will fire me instantly if i would repeatedly do more work then we get payed for(which would be 9/10 projects at least), no matter how right the cause is. We do not get payed, we do not work. That is how it is and i am pretty sure it is this way at many places.

  29. 53

    Totally agree.

    Extra work (with IEs) should really mean extra money (or some other compensation). It works that way with (almost) everything.

    Nice side effect could be IE market share drop :P

  30. 54

    You don’t need the website to be 100% identical to other browsers in IE6 but it MUST be functional in IE6. By now people should be familiar with how to make a website that isn’t completely unusable in IE6 without having to go out of their way, if you can’t do that then you’re pretty bad at your job.

    So what if IE6 only accounts 1-2% of a sites users, if a site is getting 100,000 visitors a day and for 2,000 of them the site isn’t working you could quite seriously be missing out on thousands in lost revenue.

    Perhaps as a designer/developer it’s difficult to see how important is it to make your site available to every possible customer even if they insist on using an outdated piece of software, but as a business every lost visitor is money down the train.

    • 55

      The same could be said for any software, though.

      Adobe, for example, chooses not to support Linux, or old versions of Windows or Mac. But what about all those people still running XP without service pack 3, or Mac OS prior to 10.5.8? Why don’t they support back to Windows 2000 (since XP came out in 2003), or OS X 10.0 (which came out in 2001)? The Adobe products range from about $500 to $2000 (not including discounted student editions), which means that even if, say 10,000 people are running one of those systems, Adobe is losing out on up to $20,000,000. That’s $20million down the drain for Adobe.

      However, even though that could be seen as money down the drain, Adobe has determined that that lost revenue (known in the business world as “opportunity cost”) is not as much lost as if they were to spend the resources to try to support it. In other words, it would cost them more than that $20million to try to support those other systems.

      • 56

        But we’re not talking about millions of dollars or developing software for the many/diverse operating systems/device drivers that exists are we? We’re talking about supporting a handful of browsers most of which comply to most common standards both defacto and published. It’s only when you push the platform do you begin to encounter differences/bugs e.g. supporting canvas, webGL, Storage, etc, etc.

        The majority of my work it is small to medium business and like lee said “You don’t need the website to be 100% identical to other browsers in IE6, but it MUST be functional in IE6.”.

        IE6/7 short comings are well documented – designing a site that doesn’t “break” (look significantly different or fall over) I believe, is *our* job, if we’re not capable of doing that (in a timely manner) then should we be doing this job?

  31. 57

    Yes, a valid point, but there are other things you can do to ease your IE6 woes.

    Firstly, state it clearly in your contracts that you do not develop for particular old browsers if you do not want to undertake that work. You might want to add a clause that support for these browsers is available only on explicit request at the start of the project.

    However – snoop a bit – if you visit the client in situ, check out the browser they’re using. Past experience, someone else did the client visit and another the site build but only tested in Firefox and IE7 (this was a while ago – Chrome hadn’t taken strong hold) where the site looked fine. Launched site, and client rang up saying nobody on the shop floor could see the site properly – turns out the company’s terminals could only use IE6.

    Client obviously didn’t have a clue about the difference between browsers, so didn’t even know to raise it with us. Teams need to have that discussion with the client if its a site that must work inhouse too. Like international audiences, it may be you can’t avoid that work, so you’ll have to quote more, or decline the project altogether.

    I find that using a reset stylesheet and logical, carefully structured code saves a lot of time not only in general maintenance but in dealing with IE7 and IE6. Using conditional IE tags and a conditional overriding stylesheet will wipe out most of the issues. Though, the more complicated your design and implementation the more headaches you will get.

    Great article to give confidence to designers and teams who are still caught with clients who are still struggling with web basics.

  32. 58

    Although i understand not everyone can say that to his or her clients, but when a client comes to us with that kind of requests, we first explain them why IE6 is just too bad and a pain in the ass, and totaly out of date. Then we try to explain him it’s just no use and it WILL cost an extra amound of time as wel as money.

    If the client doesn’t understand those things, we gently explain them that we’re a modern innovating company that doesn’t go TOO far back in time. And that they could better look for another company. BUT while doing so, you must give them the feeling it’s absolutely THEIR loss, not yours. And sometimes they’ll come back.

    If they don’t: probably the best.

  33. 59

    oh man.. Amen to that!

  34. 60

    and I’m also pro “bring back the notification bar on top of websites when users are visiting with an old, misbehaving browser”. Maybe that’s annoying, I call it education..

    All of the people who I advised to use Firefox or Chrome nowadays are glad I’m told ’em to .. not at first, cause they have to get used to it, but after 1 day they’re already loving the speed etc..

  35. 61

    It is not only about money and time, which is of course important. Clients need to understand (at their level) that when it comes to technology, if they want the same UX in all browsers the most restrictive browser (IE6.0) will be the baseline for the final UX. Show a great design in Firefox with all the lightboxes, jquery fancy things and latest design components (not even talking about transparencies) and then show the same website in IE6.0 and they will quickly realise how this decision can affect their business.

    A 5yo website (therefore a business) technologically speaking, cannot compete with new websites.

    My approach now with clients is that we make a “working” website in IE6.0 but our complete UX experience in Chrome, IE7.0+ and Firefox.

    And finally, I have checked recently most of my websites and the IE6.0 is only about 3% of the total visits. Add UX experience, time and money and your client will be more than convinced.

  36. 62

    Mike Barnlund

    November 3, 2011 8:11 am

    Good article. I think the additional time you’ve suggested one could spend supporting older browsers is greater than it is for a lot of developers though. Some have spent hundreds of hours working around IE’s various rendering bugs. When you’re that well acquainted, your sites start working in older IEs from the get-go since you start coding around the problems without really thinking about it.

    I charge an exorbitant amount of money for IE6 support but it’s mostly an emotional decision and not a financial one. I just hate IE6.

    • 63

      I agree! Though one might say that if you design with IE compatibility in mind, you should probably use IE as your dev browser.

      I have hatred (like, burning, physical hatred) for IE6 too–but I actually throw all the IE versions in that category. Not only do IEs 6, 7, and 8 behave differently from each other, but more often than not I’m seeing that IE9 has additional rendering artifacts that aren’t present in either it’s siblings or rival, standards-compliant browsers.

      So now we have to develop for 5 browsers. Yay.

  37. 64

    cancel bubble

    November 3, 2011 8:23 am

    An alternative approach is to simplify the design so that it can easily be built back to IE6. I’m speaking more of CSS than JavaScript, though using any decent JS library might be all you need in regards to JS. You also mentioned polyfills which can be used, if needed.

    Providing IE6 support is still a valid business case in this day and age – especially in Enterprise-land (more so than providing any mobile or responsive design). How do CSS gradations and shadows help the business? They don’t. Having a usable site/app in IE6 does.

    You need to know what you’re expected to support before you begin the design process (this is why I believe designers should code). This should also obviously drive your development process – everyone needs to be onboard upfront.

    This really only works if you’re part of the internal process all along. If you’re just brought in to do a build/assembly job (say a contract position), this doesn’t apply and, well, you end up working with what you have.

    • 65

      There’s a difference between making it usable in ie6 and making it look the same in ie6.

      I think the point wasn’t so much that you charge extra to make it work in ie6, but charge more to make it look the same. Rounded corners, gradients, etc… all design aspects that change the look of your site but aren’t a requirement to use it.

  38. 66

    Could not agree more but the argument I always hear when trying to tell customers that I will not make the website identical in appearance and functionality for IE6 without atleast 15% more monies is the NHS story. Sigh… :(

  39. 67

    Great article Lea it’s just common sense if your going to end up spending hours on fixes for legacy browsers then make sure your quoting for that time.

    We provide our client a list of browsers that the site will fully support and then a section showing the browser which will functionally work and we have had no client question this approach.

    Over the last couple of years personally I feel dealing with these older browsers has become easier by originally using css resets and now modernizr. Once a site is complete in my core development browser I’ll then begin cross browser testing from the bottom up. IE6 >

  40. 68

    Just charge extra if they want pixel perfection in IE6-7, you’d be surprised how suddenly unimportant supporting IE6/7 becomes to most clients once they realise they’ll have to pay extra for it. As an extra argument tell them you’d rather spend your time making their site look and work well on tablets and smartphones, works every time.

  41. 69

    john surdakowski

    November 3, 2011 9:04 am

    great article..I totally agree. might not be able to make the client understand..but I agree

  42. 70

    Nikki Strømsnes

    November 3, 2011 9:06 am

    We don’t optimize for IE6 at all, and we’ve started making graceful degradation to IE7 and 8 – the sites will be functional, but they may miss out on some eye candy. Our approach is similar to yours, but instead of telling them things will cost extra, we tell them they will SAVE money if we get to do our work with modern browsers in mind. Clients alreply positive to this, because we are helping them by offering a better yet cheaper product.

  43. 71

    Oh no! the dreaded IE 6. I have lost some hair over that browser.

  44. 72

    If your struggling to explain progressive enhancement to your client take a look at this article and document put together by Paul Boag

  45. 73

    A company i managed still generates 20K in bookings a year from ie6… no brainer

    • 74

      Exactly. Don’t ignore the traffic. I really doubt a lot of these designers aren’t paying attention to who they’re designing for. It’s one thing to design for your client and mislead them however you want, but you’re ultimately designing for their visitors.

    • 75

      It’s almost a matter of prejudice for me–my unspoken mantra is basically “if you still use IE6, I don’t want to deal with you or any of the probable trouble that you’re going to cause me in the near future.”

  46. 76

    Brent Dickens

    November 3, 2011 9:42 am

    I work for a large IT company in Wellington, New Zealand. We are very billable hours focused. The good part is support for older browsers is all charged for and explained to the client up front. We also have a good look through their site analytics for the last 6 months. Usually this helps to back us up as they soon see ie 6 & 7 usage is very small. They nearly always understand, they don’t like paying for something that has little tangible benefit.
    In saying that we always make sure the site is functional and all information is accessible for older browsers.

    Great article and a great way to get clients past this issue.

  47. 77

    Great article. A practical approach to something, as a freelance designer, I’ve struggled to maintain a consistent opinion on.

  48. 78

    Igors Brezinskis

    November 3, 2011 10:26 am

    Nice post! It’s look like this lady have a good vision. Well done! ;)

  49. 79

    So glad to see that the poll reflects the opposite of what you thought to be true. If you aren’t itemizing what you are selling to a client and explicitly charging for legacy browser support, you need to focus your energy on your business contracts and how you setup your agreements. Clear and precise agreements lead to a much happier designer, developer and most importantly a gracious client.

  50. 80

    I disagree. For me, it’s never been an issue where “the client wants ie6 support”, it’s always been about demographics and revenues.

    Some websites, believe it or not, have a higher percentage of ie6/7 visitors than others, because the visitors are generally older in age and are late adopters on older machines, and / or a relatively large portion of the visitors are within corporate networks running old browsers.

    650,000 visitors x 2% ie6 users = 13,000 potential customers/CPMs you’re turning away. If you’re ok with that math… than by all means, don’t support the browser. Those are typical monthly metrics for one site I work on, on some other sites the ie6 share is significantly lower, the goals are different, and in fact I don’t always support ie6 on those sites.

    Another point, if ie6 support is doubling your workload then you’re definitely doing it wrong, sorry. I admire your other work Lea, but a statement like that is pretty extreme.

    • 81

      It’s not even totally about IE6, but also about IE 7/8 where CSS3 support is not there.

    • 82

      Have to agree with this, we have clients for which IE6 represent 20% of visits and I can’t see myself telling them to pay more for something that we, as professional web designers, should be taking care of! Our job is not only to produce nice looking sites but to ensure it works in the highest number of browsers as possible.

      While modern browsers allow you to use fancy CSS3, they are a lot more forgiving for “errors” in the CSS than IE6 is. I actually find it a very good exercise to look at the site in IE6 to make sure I didn’t make one of those “errors” (like placing a wider div inside its narrower container). After a while you know what can go wrong in IE6 and code your main.css accordingly.

      Looking at my past 20 projects, the time to get the sites working in IE6 was probably around 1 hour… in total. As Les said, if it takes you 30% more time as a minimum, maybe you should force yourself to learn about IE6 flaws to produce better legacy browser support.

      Finally, I’d like to make a difference between not looking as good in IE6 and being unusable in IE6… the latter is totally unacceptable if you call yourself a “professional”.

  51. 83

    Lech Wilczyński

    November 3, 2011 10:37 am

    Let’s make an extreme case when client is text only browser like Links on a Linux terminal.
    There is no way that all these ajax calls will be rendered in this browser, no modal windows etc. But even in this kind of a browser I should be able to make a conversion. I think no one cares about pixel perfect design unless he’s able to “send the form”.

  52. 84

    Jason Vaillancourt

    November 3, 2011 10:50 am

    Google Chrome Frame may be a solution.

  53. 85

    I was very happy to read this post today. I agree with most of it, I am no longer fussed about making IE7 match pixel perfect to the modern browser version of my sites. I have decided to make sure at least the navigation and content are accessible for free. However, I have dropped support entirely for IE6. It’s a ten year old browser. If I brought a ten year old cell phone into a carrier and asked if they would support it, I’d be willing to bet money on the answer being no. Just because a customer wants support for a certain technology doesn’t mean vendors have to offer the support. Back in 2005 I had an old laptop still running Windows 98 and couldn’t get on my university residence’s network to get on the internet. For a web development student this was pretty necessary. They told me the operating system was too old, I was SOL. I got a new computer. It was the push that convinced me that I really needed a technology upgrade. By supporting IE6 in any fashion, we as developers are delaying that push away from this outdated technology. My opinion is that coding for IE6 is a waste of time, and there’s no price I can charge that would be worth wasting my time.

  54. 86

    It´s quite frustrating, but unfortunately it is true :(

  55. 87

    When I get a client I flat out tell them that I don’t support IE period. I can care less if it is IE9. I want that F* browser DEAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • 88

      I hate IE more than anyone, but that’s not a realistic approach. You need to support at least IE7+ if you ever want to “get a client” again..

  56. 89

    I don’t usually find IE7 too much bother, so include it in my prices. But I’ve stated in my contracts for about 18 months that IE6 is not included and will be charged as an extra. Number of people taking the option ? Zero.

    There are rare cases (i.e. a site I designed that would be used in schools, which often have ancient equipment and browsers) where I’ll say ‘you should probably support IE6 on this, and it’s a little extra’. Ideally if it’s a rebuild, there’ll be some analytics / browser stats to also help make the decision on what to support.

    But for 99% of clients, they’ll prefer to save the cash or spend it on other parts of the build. Like the article says, money always wins.

  57. 90

    Michael Luedtke

    November 3, 2011 1:20 pm

    When do you say enough is enough? Does your user have Netscape 4 or an old computer from 70’s? Really!?!?! When the company who built the browser does not support it, you shouldn’t have to.

  58. 91

    Wozzza Rabbit

    November 3, 2011 1:47 pm

    Wow Leah you have really sparked a debate here, IE6 is a total nightmare from a styling point of view and IE7 isn’t much better, had never thought about giving clients the option before but you have inspired me now so thank you!

    As Amanda quite rightly pointed out it’s all about percentages and if less than 5% of your audience use a particular version of IE then I think most clients these days would not be prepared to pay extra to accommodate them !

    Warren (UK)

  59. 92

    This article could have been boiled down to one line: “Charge for all the work you do – all of it.”

    I hear a lot of whining about “extra” work from designers/developers, and really – if you are putting in extra work that you’re not getting compensated, you’ve got no one to blame but yourself. A lot of that comes down to experience, and being able to think ahead and anticipate where all your time will be spent, what you’ll need to do, and include that in your quote.

    In terms of older browsers, as someone already pointed out, browser support should be driven by the client’s audience, not by our personal whims. And we should plan and design projects with browser support in mind, and make sure we are advising the client on which browsers they need to support based on their users, not leaving it up to them to decide what to do based on extra costs and expenses that they won’t want to pay. Build the requirements into the quote – don’t line-item them as extras and then let the client choose not to buy stuff they genuinely need and don’t have the expertise to know they need. It’s our job to tell them what they need, and how much that will cost.

    Aside from that, seriously – I don’t get what the big deal is. I hate IE with the fiery flames of hell, but it’s not THAT hard to create sites that work, even in IE6. It comes down to experience, and knowing what the potential pitfalls are. If it’s taking you hours to get things to work in IE6 or IE7, then there’s something seriously wrong with the foundation you built the site on, and you should maybe re-think your approach and work on your coding skills.

    • 93

      Totally agree. It really seems like some designers just don’t want the “hassle” of building a site right or don’t know how. Then other designers tell them they don’t need to know how. Just “educate” and “charge for it.”

      Maybe someone needs to educate your clients that they could find a quality web designer with some real experience who will design for YOUR audience.

  60. 94

    I used to support IE6 if the client asked. I wouldn’t charge extra, per se. The site would usually take a little longer to optimize (resulting in a slightly higher price). However, I’ve since dropped support for IE6. I am now getting close to supporting IE7 only if requested. We’re on the verge of having IE10 to deal with. I think it’s more than sane to only want to deal with three IEs at a time. Supporting so many older browsers goes from being necessary, to extra work, to frustrating, to just unreasonable.

  61. 95

    Pedro Heliodoro

    November 3, 2011 4:00 pm

    Hello Lea
    Great article.

    Me and my team strive for supporting two old versions of IE agains’t the current one.
    If the current stable version is IE9 than our support will go no further than IE7.
    Supporting older browsers will be an eternal discussion.

    In desktop development, if the software requires Operating System Z, then the user will have no choice but to upgrade their system to meet it’s requirements. The same philosophy should be applied to web development. Developers should be allowed time to experiment and develop cool stuff, while knowing that it will work in every current browser.

    So why using the same old technology if that technology is 30 years old? Will we continue to ask ourselves whether we should support old and outdated software? Why not educate our consumers that there are advantages in using the latest browsers? I fully understand companies that have built intranets with IE6, and probably i’m gonna be flamed because of this, but why even bother to build on that platform if they knew there were upcoming browser versions?

    To finish my rant, I have this one question for all of you out there:

    Why not having a single rendering engine? Why having 5 or 6 different engines?


  62. 96

    Adam Coulombe

    November 3, 2011 4:07 pm

    This is the stupidest web dev article I’ve read in ages. I find it hard to even believe that this was written by someone who actually works as a web developer professionally. You whine about having even basic support for older browsers (ahem, serving them a print stylesheet? wtf?!?) And yet no mention of all the ridiculous inconsistencies in CSS3 implementations, like as if that is not time consuming too. I actually believe developing under constraints and striving for wider support is partly what leads us to creative and innovative solutions. Supporting a wide range of browsers isn’t even difficult if you know what you’re doing. It sounds to me like you’re just being lazy.

  63. 97

    Adam Coulombe

    November 3, 2011 4:11 pm

    Right from the first line I knew this article was going to be stupid. Just because a client wants IE support, that makes them stubborn? Please… You live in your own little world. Do you realize how many companies and organizations still have old versions of IE standard on their computers. Who in their right mind would only pay for Firefox support? That is unheard of and completely unrealistic.

  64. 98

    Charge by the hour and not by the project … problem solved! This way, any additional work that you are required to do, you bill them for it :)

  65. 99

    Agree with you Adam. All our stuff is ie6 compatible- we do a lot of Govt work and if they’ve seen a design sign off and it doesn’t look like that on their network, you have to fix it to keep them happy. Regardless of the browser. It’s a business case and there are rules written into contracts. As for charging extra to support older browsers, this is a huge turn off for any sizeable tender, and likely to result in not getting return business. The best way is to know your browsers, stop hating Microsoft and write compatible code. Any developer worth a wage can deal with browsers, not just the ones they favour. You should cost for this upfront though, and it makes better business sense to offer a discount for not catering for legacy browsers- they feel they’re getting a deal, you keep your hair and they make the decision.

  66. 100

    Pedro Heliodoro

    November 3, 2011 4:45 pm

    So let us say that you want to support IE3.02 because your client’s computer is not allowed to upgrade? Or even does not support Flash for using video? Most of our colleges don’t want Flash controls and IE6 doesn’t run video tags?

    How do you propose to please those?


    • 101

      Would you seriously take on a contract like that? If you tell the client it will work in ie6, then you need to deliver- period. We review our work, we cost it accurately, and we flag ie6 issues way before the build. In the situation you describe, we used to have clients who couldn’t upgrade or even use plugins like flash. I think the version they had was 6 at the time, so this was a situation we used to face! It does increase costs, you just need to factor this in, that’s all.
      FWIW i’d love not to have to factor this in- but there it is. :)

  67. 102

    Google only supports the last 3 versions of IE. Educate the client and move on.. nuff said.

  68. 103

    Unfortunately, we’ll still have this problem in the future, and for the same reason: Microsoft still have their heads up their a**es and haven’t learned anything from IE6.

    To wit: the problem with IE6 was that IE7 only ran on XP SP2 or higher. (Plus that it didn’t come out for like 6 years, was never bundled even as an option with an XP service pack, didn’t have any kind of prompting to automatically update to, etc.)

    The problem with IE7 is that IE8 was never included with a Vista service pack even as an option, and automatic updates doesn’t prompt to update to IE7 to IE8 (as far as I know).

    The problem with IE8 is that IE9 only runs on Vista SP2 or higher. (etc.)

    The problem with IE9 will be that IE10 will only run on Windows 7 (+service pack?).

    In five years we’ll be bemoaning all the people still using IE8, even as MS releases IE11 (and Chrome is at like version 30, Firefox at version 20, etc.)

    We all really have to band together to help force abandonment of old versions of IE by never making any site perfect in any version of IE except perhaps the latest (degrading worse the older they get). Microsoft isn’t going to do it for us. (We also need to stop showing clients pretty Photoshop mockups of what a site could look like at its best and instead mock up in the browser; if they only ever see their site in IE, they’ll never know what they’re missing…)

  69. 104

    Haven’t we got the job to rescue the customers from using that unsecure browser and OS there running? If they will get hacked, or if other weird things happen to there PC’s and they mainly use your website you may probably get the blame. That could damage you image. Also, supporting IE6 on your application is a security risk for the application as well in many ways. I think that not supporting -and even blocking- IE6 users, will cost less in the end. If we don’t force them to upgrade, who will.

  70. 105

    Thank you very much.
    I will from now on add a link to this article in my contract for “enlightenment” of the lost client soul.
    And make sure that they read for i will hold a discussion on it afterwards :P

  71. 106

    People are changing their mobile phones when a newer version or latest feature arrives….
    Why not change their old browsers… ?

    • 107

      It’s Microsoft’s mistake. It updates browser thro’ “Windows Update”. Like Firefox & Chrome, IE should be updated separately.

  72. 108

    I’m finding it more and more difficult to test in IE6, so I don’t offer it unless the client brings it up.

  73. 109

    On all my proposals and contracts I state that my websites support modern browsers and their technologies. Secretly though I support back to IE7. I’m yet to have a complaint from a client with an older browser. Of course I don’t go all out with the CSS3 yet, just little bits here and there and I ensure the design still works without it.

    My layouts still work in older browsers as I am used to creating layouts for those types of browsers from when I started learning web design/development. I am not too worried about small inconsistencies in older browsers unless they ruin the purpose of the site. I suspect IE6 and IE7 users are used to seeing odd things on the net by now anyway.

    Of course if I had a client who’s target audience is those expected to support older browsers I support those first and foremost.

  74. 110

    Excelent Article

  75. 111

    Thats my mind “extra work = higher costs”.

  76. 112

    I do not agree with “Then, I just don’t serve screen.css to IE 7 and below. ”

    You should let the website look quite equal in every browser. the nth-child and border-radius wont work okay no big deal but the user can still use the site as we wanted. And if you got some fancy images positionated with css3, just remove them with display none.

    Remove everything that doesnt looks like expected of style it to default is the better way to explain a customer why the page looks different at his office pc

    • 113

      I discuss it with the client up front, so there’s no way he’ll ask me something like that. On the other hand, I guess I had more tech-savvy clients than others, that actually know what a browser is and that different versions support different things.

      If you use progressive CSS, it’s nowhere as simple as you describe. IE7 has tons of bugs, and most of the times when I first check something there, it’s completely broken. On the other hand, if you develop with the IE7 bugs in mind, I guess that won’t happen. I don’t want to, not by ignorance, by decision.

  77. 114

    What this discussion is – again – lacking: Proper framework solutions to this problem. I actually don’t optimize for IE 6 anymore. If the customer insists on that, I do the above explaining and reasoning. And in most cases, the customer lets the issue drop.

    That’s also because I’m using modern, up-to-date techniques, combined with a proven framework (BluePrint CSS in 99% of the cases), to reduce the “let’s optimize for IE”-problem down to the usual “detail work”, which you gotta do at the end of the project for regular, w3c-complying browsers anyway. The “overhead” is approx. 5% and less.

    Indeed I have had just ONE single case during the course of the last 4 years were I was required to do some actual fiddling around with IE-only bugs and techniques, and that also only occured while trying out a different, mobile/small screen-optimized fluid CSS framework.

    The regular working schedule normally consists of the usual “let’s test this in Google Chrome, too” plus maybe a short visit to the VM emporium (“let’s take a look at it in IE 6,7,8”). In the case of IE 6 that VM is probably active already anyway, cause that’s were my old, but reliable-proven Photoshop 7-something version resides (for anything else there is ImageMagick, The Gimp and Inkscape – who needs Freehand anyway?).

    About the framework I’m using: In nearly all cases nowadays, it consists of a moderately adapted BluePrint CSS, which got some HTML5- and CSS 3-goodness added, based mostly on the HTML5Boilerplate framework. This includes media queries as well as the Modernizr JS library, plus the alternative conditional comment style, but adapted to Blueprint CSS.

    Of corpse, your reasoning is to avoid this matter of multiple browser testing as much as possible, but so do I. And then there is still the fact, that current “modern” browsers got their own bugs as well (eg. the nasty Safari <= 4 bug, when you suddenly get browser defaults for the link color .. #00f ("straight blue") doesnt look too pretty on dark-gray background, or that Firefox 3 – 5 display: block-bug), so you normally can't get around the "multiple browser tests at 95% of project done" action.

    Sure, there are clients that don't care if you do or not, or simply lack the technical understanding, thus except you to know your job better then them, including these mere "superificial details". So if you simply leave out the "let's take a short glance at this outside of my regular box" task and get away with it .. well .. perfect for you. But that's not MY philosophy – and I'd rather believe it aint for the overwhelming rest of us developers and designers ;)

    cu, w0lf.

    • 115

      This is a quality article. It doesn’t assume that client’s don’t know what they are talking about. As a web designer, you may know more about the technology than your client, but they know more about their own business and their own customers than you do.

      If they are willing to pay for IE6 support, it is because they know that their customers need it. Anyone who wants to join the crusade of “no legacy browser support” needs to understand that The Web is global – and that includes IE6 as well as some really gnarly old mobile phones, which are getting a second life in developing countries.

      Great work Lea.

      • 116

        I disagree. The Web is global you say – alright, so maybe we should also support IE5? I bet there are few growlers who still using it. IE6 is an antique and so it should be treaten. Anyone using it is doing it for his/her own responsibility. We can not always look back. I mean, c’mon man – people are buying plasma tvs for big money and they can’t afford to upgrade/change their browser for free?

  78. 117

    I never want double or more if the client wants IE6 or other brower’s support…

    ..what a pity

  79. 118

    Nice post and good explanation. I agree.

  80. 119

    Totally agreed! Charging extra money for extra work should be the standard, not an exception. On the other hand – extra charge for supporting IE7 is imho too much. Many people are still using it and it’s not the minority I’m talking about. I guess the best solution is to support it partly, so the user gets content without any extra fireworks and we – the developers from all over the world – wouldn;t have to work extrahours just to satisfiy some users who just can;t upgrade their browsers. :)

    I’d like to say one more think – I alway leave the pop up message for IE6-users that says “you’re using old, dangerous and shitty browser – upgrade it or change for your own sake or you won’t be able to truly experience the beauty of world wide web”. :)

    • 120

      According to the statcounter stats, and any Google Analytics stats I’ve seen on multiple websites, IE7 usage is insignificant. It seems that most people jumped straight from IE6 to IE8. There are way more people using IE6 than IE7 too.

  81. 122


  82. 123

    I totally agree. Good article.

  83. 124

    i put this script on every page

    everybody will see it if they use ie6 or ie7


  84. 125

    Perhaps you should try saying

    “It will cost you X but if you do NOT want IE6,7,8 it will cost only Y”

    and make Y around half.

    • 126

      IE8 is nowhere even close to the beast that’s IE6 and IE7. IE8 isn’t very buggy, it just doesn’t support many things. I would never put those 3 in the same group.

  85. 127

    Interesting article. I work in-house for a large ecommerce company, so charging more is not an option. In my situation the best thing I can do is make it clear that being compatible with IE6 will cost the project time, which in a sense is money. Unfortunately when 6% of your users are still on IE6, higher ups feel that investment is necessary.

    Still, we’ve been able to make some headway by convincing the people in charge that IE6 does not need to be pixel perfect, just usable. This helps keep the IE6 fixes minimal and allows us to use some CSS3.

    Right now I actually don’t see IE6 as the biggest hurdle for the future of CSS though. I think that Windows XP is the problem. From what I can tell the latest IE you can put on XP is IE8. That means all those users who don’t want to buy a new computer for the next couple years (or upgrade their operating system) could very well be using IE browsers that don’t support CSS3. Call me pessimistic, but I get the feeling we’ll be cursing XP for another 5-8 years, long after the death of IE6.

  86. 128

    IE6 doesnt support JSON ..
    So if you want to do some serious programming start with IE8 or IE9 (better)
    Ofcourse Firefox does support it.

    What if you client doesnt want to change any current configuration
    Popup a note to use firefox portable for your site.

    To stay with old software is like inviting hackers to hack you.
    Its part of your eduction and expertise to point people to such risks.
    There are a lot peole who dont know abut these risk; you should tell them.

    Also note by adding some meta tags to the header section starting from IE8 IE can render pages in the old style, its not that hard to do if rendering is the only problem.
    But IE9.. really its a lot better / faster / secure..educate your customers.

  87. 129

    Heather Burns

    November 4, 2011 6:37 am

    My take on the situation is that if the client requires me to code for IE6, I have to wonder if I am going to get paid. Either they are a mom-and-pop (or grandma-and-granddad?) business which is barely getting through each month, or they are a government bureaucracy which, having taken no steps to modernise over the past decade, will be first in line for the next round of budget cuts. So for me, reluctance to work for IE6 users is a reluctance to work for businesses which are barely staying in business.

    I would stress, though, that whatever anti-IE6 strategy you take should be grounded in education and consideration, not attitude and one-upmanship, as I’ve written here:

    • 130

      Please don’t stereotype the “Grandma and grandpa” group. I’m part of that generation (so was Steve Jobs) and have worked in software development since the eldar days. I still work in the field using a Mac running Lion, my wife uses a PC running Windows 7, IE9 and Chrome.

      I do keep a nice old IBM T40 Thinkpad on my museum shelf beside my gramophone, oil lamp, dial telephone, and manual typewriter so I can test websites on IE6. I agree IE6 belongs on that shelf.

      This article is spot on, if it takes extra work it should cost the client more or they should be willing to get less functionality. I used to own a 1981 Alfa Romeo Spyder, it was pretty, but very temperamental and difficult to fix. It always cost a lot more than our late model Toyota because it needed to go to a specialty auto shop. Maybe a clever entrepreneur will start a chain of Antique Browser support shops so we can just outsource this headache. There are electricians who specialize in knob and tube work and they do very well, so do the few remaining blacksmiths and stonemasons.

      One issue that wasn’t mentioned in the article and comments is the plethora of modes that IE can run in. Even IE9 can appear broken when used in compatibility mode and many IT departments set that as default for intranets causing strange behaviour when demoing from internal servers.

  88. 131

    At work we just support it because we’re nice like that :)

    However, on my personal blog ( I don’t even let ie users in. Of ANY version. But that’s just me – my blog is not a democracy… :D

  89. 132


    I’m never gonna do any support or custom work around IE in general. It’s old and obsolete – people must move on.

    Stop supporting this browser. Period.

  90. 133

    I found that to avoid the most problems, coding a site that is within IE6 standards works best. yes, there is no png support, yes some scripts dont work, and yes new techniques arent applicable. but it all comes down to target audience.

    you cannot tell a client you dont support so and so browsers. its not a good pitch to say you only fix japanese cars. To take it a step further i see is as a better pitch to say our site will work on all browsers. of course i have had a client that was still running on windows 95 and idk what IE…maybe IE4?

    troubleshooting for IE6 does take a large amount of time, but with experience you start to do things that you know it will work. but for developers, that’s our job. we solve problems. i would love to do css3 all day and mess with awesome javascript libraries. but that wont happen until html 5 becomes standard and that will take another 15yrs until that too becomes outdated.

  91. 134

    Most Canadian banks and government closed network clients use IE6. It’s reality. They don’t have and are not allowed to have anything else.
    Developers working for these clients (internal or outsourcing) don’t have any choice. And clients pay well :).
    My evil prediction is that IE6 never dies :))

  92. 135

    I read through your thoughtful article waiting for some recognition that your clients sometimes have really, really good reasons for their choice, which means they have really, really good reasons to stick with yesterday’s technology.

    All I saw was a narrow developer’s point of view, that the whole point of advanced technology is…well, to use advanced technology, whether it suits the client’s real needs or not (as opposed to what you want those needs to be).

    None of this looks at the problem through the client’s eyes.

    • 136

      Sure, they might need to use IE6 for some internal web app, but why do they need to use it for everything else? If I use Excel for spreadsheets, shouldd I have to use it to write memos, too? Right tool for the job… There is no good excuse for not having a modern browser installed, aside from “we don’t want our users surfing the web”.

    • 137

      It’s not written for clients, it’s written for developers. If you need reasons why advanced technology is better for everyone, you might be in the wrong job.

      • 138

        I really don’t see any reason why there can’t be both (advanced technology with backwards compatibility). In the majority of cases, an experienced designer/developer will really not have any trouble, and spend very little extra time making a website compatible with IE6. Serving IE6 a print stylesheet is actually a pretty funny notion in concept. Go ahead and do that on your blog. But in practice, there’s no way I could ever actually see that being acceptable for client work. I honestly think It would take more time for me to explain to a client the issues with IE6 then it would take for me to just make the site compatible. Theres no sense complaining about age-old issues when you could be making better use of your time honing your skills and abilities.

  93. 139

    I agree but don’t fall into the easy idea that clients want IE6 compatibility just because they’re using it. I’m a client, not a dev, and I totally understand your point of the extra work that IE6 or 7 involve.

    The reality is that IE6 is still around 50% of browsers use in China, and 30% in Japan and still 9% in Europe. When working on an international project, you can’t get rid of this information to save money, but you have to include that parameter in your need so that you get the most accurate price, and, more important I think, the most accurate planning (I had to remove IE6 from the scope of a project to be sure that we’ll be on time, which means 9% of the European users that won’t be able to see the site properly…)

    To go straight to the point, I agree with this article for several reasons:

    1. People need to understand that IE6 is an extra cost 100% of the time (even using it is a pain…)
    2. When people will keep hearing that IE6 is “special”, they will understand it and think about their real need.

    This article is also good because another important thing is that IE6 is often underestimated by devs. Maybe the first step would be that every devs realize that IE6 understand html yes…but not every part of it (it might sound ridiculous as I say it, sorry for my english).

  94. 140

    When even Microsoft (among many others) says “Don’t use it!” due to security issues ( then we certainly are not the ones who let clients have what they want. As an agency, we have the responsibility to educate them.

    Usage is high only in China, so a decision must be based on facts, not wishes. Is the website targeted at chinese users? (or: Canadian bank intranet?) Really? Okay, checkbook please.


  95. 141

    Chris Cardinal

    November 4, 2011 11:36 am

    We support down to IE7 usually by default but for 6 (and soon 7), we put up a banner that warns the user of a subpar experience and pushes them to Chrome Frame.

    I explain to clients that it’s like being upset that a user can’t access your site from their old rotary phone. The technology isn’t the same.

  96. 142

    As I mentioned above there might be a niche business in this for more experienced developers to provide support for Antique Browsers, MS is providing years of business with their decision to not run IE9 under XP.

  97. 143

    Well if you able to manage site to fix in IE6 then u can work on any browser. IE6 uses correct rendering for webs pages :)!!!

    But since it is outdated now so it should be charged more for clients who wants IE6 support.

  98. 144

    It has been my experience that the clients who want IE6 support in the last few years request it because they either sell very expensive products, or have such a high volume of traffic that it’s worth the initial investment to not make their IE6 using customers feel alienated. Even if it was a small percentage, if the volume is high enough it’s worth supporting so at the end of the day they make more money.

  99. 145

    In my position I completely disagree.

    My clients come to me with complete lack of knowledge for the Internet and websites and expect me as a professional to make the right decisions regarding the web. I don’t think it’s right to lay that burden on the client. When I take my car in to be repaired I don’t expect the mechanic to start educating me on my car and it’s inner workings, I just want him to fix it.

    now most of my clients comes from quite outdated sectors, education, engineering and public etc. so yes, I will be coding for legacy browsers because it’s a necessity.

    With that in mind I think it should be the other way around, with a project for a more tech savvy sector, I will give them the option of a more ‘forward thinking’ design and charge them extra for graceful degradation, but I definitely do not agree with asking the client how I should do my job.

    • 146

      I think you hit the nail on the head here Derek. It is really not the clients problem that one browser works a different way than another. They just want it to work. And its your job as a professional to take care of that and deliver a working product.

    • 147

      You can explain the differences and statistics and let them decide. In some cases old browser support is something that you can’t avoid and has to be factored in the initial quote. For example, when creating websites for a large Asian audience.

      But in most cases it’s not as much a straightforward decision with a definite right answer. If you’re expecting 5-10% of old browsers, especially on a small website where that 5% doesn’t account to many people, it’s perfectly reasonable to explain it to your client and give them options.

      • 148

        I agree with Derek. Most of my clients just “want a website” to “be on the Internet”. They expect me to make these kind of choices for them.

        When I go to a restaurant, I don’t want the Chef to ask me which cooking wine he should use for the sauce of my steak.

        Also, you have to take into account how the website will promote your work. I’ve developed a website ONCE with no real support for older browser and got several negative remarks asking why so-and-so wouldn’t see the booking page correctly etc. Whereas I got new clients forwarded to me from clients whose websites I took ages to make perfectly IE6-compatible.

        Nowadays, all my clients come from another previous client.

  100. 149

    Jiri Brezovsky

    November 4, 2011 2:28 pm

    Thanks a lot for inspiration for my next appointment with my clients. These arguments and way of explaining are so good.

  101. 150

    Niels Matthijs

    November 4, 2011 3:18 pm

    One of these articles comes along every year or so, a testament to the persistence of IE6 no doubt.

    There are two problems with the theory above. The first (and biggest) is that it works quite well for smaller clients, but when you’re working for big companies who are all IE6 in-house, there’s no way you can convince them to skip IE6 support. They wouldn’t even be able to validate your work in-house. You can charge them extra, but if you charge them double, they’ll call you an amateur.

    The second problem is that they would probably be quite right in calling you an amateur. It’s fine to drop IE6 support where possible (if the % is low enough and the client accepts it), but there are still plenty of occasions where IE6 support is a must, and people should still be able to make it happen. I know debugging IE6 is a bitch, but rather than make people lazy and uncaring, they should learn to deal with the less pretty part of our job.

  102. 151

    I totally agree with what you told. We have to educate clients on what is better for them.
    I have convinced some clients to totally not support IE6 by only show them the pros of modern browsers.

    It is our obligation to start moving forward.

    • 152

      Let me be more specific.

      First we have to found what is the audience of the site, so if you are a freelancer and you just got to build a site for a country that the largest bandwidth speed is 1GB then you absolutely must support IE6. Because:
      1) Your site has to be lightweight; when designing for IE6 you have in mind this.
      2) It’s clear that this country will not be using computer which has the best performance.

      For this reason there also analytics. For redesigns of course we must check analytics first. For newer sites we can always make a research for similar sites.

      So, lets not count on when HTML5 or CSS3 will be a standard and let’s start pushing to be a standard asap.

      Just my 2 cents.

    • 153

      I was really thinking most people using Firefox or Chrome and was never serious about old browsers even Microsoft’s, but looking at the google analytics shown there are still 30% users having IE7 and few use IE6 too. My client was really unhappy and that made me researching more and more. Adobe BrowserLab is good place check to check old browsers.

      I think having separate css files for IE6 and IE7 serve the purpose, where even we can put png/jpg to support different browsers.

  103. 154

    Agree! Can’t believe people still using IE, specially older versions. Nice article.

  104. 155

    Or the client can go with a PROFESSIONAL web developer who doesn’t gripe and cry about supporting IE6 because seriously we’re talking a handful of techniques that you’d have to know IF you happen to encounter a problem. IE6 has been around for how long – and you still haven’t figured it out??

  105. 156

    Interesting article, but perhaps overly dramatic? You’re either taking way too much time to support those older browsers, or your normal site development time is very rapid… For example, it should only take an hour or two to fix things in IE, does this mean your main development time is only 1/2 hour to 1 hour?

    I use CSS3 PIE, which adds things like corners and shadows to IE, all the way back to 6. I don’t usually have to do anything for IE7+, and if I do, it only takes a few minutes. In the head of my sites, I use a short bit of code that adds a version specific class name to the HTML element for IE. Making an IE7 specific rule is as easy as .ie7 #main {position: relative;}

    Anyway, once you’ve integrated these simple things into your workflow, it doesn’t take much time to implement. That being said, I stopped supporting IE6, though I always take a peak just to see. And while it doesn’t always look pretty, the content is usually perfectly accessible.

    However, I do like the _idea_ that it takes twice as long to develop for IE6, at least when discussing the option with the client… nudge nudge wink wink

    • 157

      I guess it’s a mix of both. In the past few years I’ve been focused on mastering the new techniques we have. Thus, the space I reserved in my brain for IE bugs is getting more and more compressed. Naturally, the benefit of that is that the time I spend on developing something with newer standards is really short. I guess you can’t have both.

      CSS3PIE is an excellent script, but I’ve found it quite buggy in cases of complicated CSS with lots of CSS3. Like in browsers, the interplay between different CSS3 features results in a higher chance of bugs. I’m not trying to put down Jason’s work, what he did there is amazing. But polyfilling CSS is an extremely hard task to begin with and it’s bound to be buggy.

      • 158

        I guess it just comes down to: if you use a buggy browser to access content on the internet, you’re likely to have a buggy experience…

        And there’s only so much we should have to do as developers to compensate for for a user’s poor choice in browser, whatever the reason. For me, using a polyfill like CSSPie seems like a healthy amount of effort on my part.

        Anyway, thanks again for providing yet another place for people to vent about IE ;)

  106. 159

    Interesting article. I agree with the author’s point of view regarding IE6 for a myriad of reasons, including PNG, box model and CSS support.

    But charging more for IE7 ? This I don’t understand. I develop websites on IE7 with no major issue. I use PHP to create my CSS files, so I have a single code for things like gradients or shadows. And jQuery for javascript cross-browser compatibility.

    I’m also don’t find it professional to present an optimal experience to clients who upgraded after 2009 only (IE8).

  107. 160

    Very good article!

    It’s well-wrote and is very fluid to read.

    Great job.

  108. 161

    I had a client recently that replied “No need. People need to learn how to upgrade their browers” when asked about compatibility with browser versions other than the latest. Made my work a whole lotta easier.

  109. 162

    Sorry, but I think, most of you are on a totally wrong path, starting with this very bad article start.
    No, it’s _not_ our (the developers) fault, and no, we are _not_ responsable for this issue that lives today.
    It where those damn no-brainers, that wanted some “easy application”, for example their accounting, and those greater idiots, who made them roll in a web browser. That’s the stupid fact. And out of that araises the problem, that a company can’t update their browser, because this “great program” would not work anymore.
    First and biggest shit.
    Now second are those developers, who still support a official dead browser at any cost. And this literally. I impute those peeps to be only hobbiests, they hardly can do this work on a regular basis.
    It seems noone really understands the cycle of production and what comes with it and how to handle it.
    It looks, most of you belive all can be solved with money.
    Wrong. It all turns around _time_. Time is importand, even more if you are freelancer.
    So a normal production cycle is like:
    Gain project, prepare project, make project, get cash
    And after that, it starts again
    Gain project, prepare project, make project, get cash

    All this has a pretty predictable time schedule. And now comes the point: If you develop more than necessary _you lose time_. And this time can’t be outweighted with money. It’s sure nice to get, but honestly: I rather do a new project with more money on it than hanging 30% and more overtime on one. And only because I have to support a dead browser. So if you spend 50% more time on one project, you have 50% less time for the next one OR have to re-schedule the next project. This adds and very soon, you get completely “out of sync” and you will have trouble to get normal going again, without losing money AND time.
    Sorry, I’m not with this.

    We as developer have the responsibility to make the best for our money and in a realistic time frame. And making “the best” doesn’t mean “for all”. You can only have one or the other, not both. At least not now.
    So the right way would be to say “We only support all browsers below 1 version number of the actual version number.”. So coming to IE that would be 8 and that’s really all it takes.

    Now to all who cry out now “And what about all those poor pigs in banks, govs and what not …?”
    I say firstly: Fuck them. For Intranet they should use whatever they want, I don’t care. But for the Internet, there is _no single reason_ why a IE6 should be used.
    And secondly: Most of you all forget a important point: You are developing _for the users_ and NOT for the client. So, even if the client whines about how bad the website looks on his IE6 he uses in the bank, the only right answer would be: “Too bad to hear you have to use old crap, but in the free world outside, everyone can see your website, because they use the right tool.” Maybe starting developing for the 1440×600 laptop of the CEO because “the website isn’t visible here in it’s entireness” is a no-go anyway … sorry.

    So no matter how “necessary” a developer needs money, he should never ever let it happen to support old and insecure software. It’s better to drop the client and move on to the next. Make it a principle and stick to it, no matter what. If we all do this, we get changes much much sooner.

  110. 164

    Supporting Iexplorer 8 and behind with custom css classes and so forth. Is a totally shameful waste of time and effort in 2012, no matter how much you get paid for it.

    In fact I do not give any kind of support to those browsers at all.

    I don’t care.

    And if you people, ignored iexplorer bugginess as soon as new browsers have been launched, as I did, today we will not discussing this stupid topic over and over again.


  111. 165

    My Android always fails me, the device keeps freezing or switching off.

  112. 166

    Personally, I think the whole ‘old version ie’ stuff is an overused excuse from people who don’t know what they’re doing.

    When it comes down to it, there’s 5-6 serious css flaws that take 2 lines of CSS each to compensate for (3 in the case of the box model issue, read: boo-hoo). It’s not a legitimate issue or time-sink if your applications are written correctly to begin with. The vast majority of incompatibilities I see come from the following:

    1. People abusing the hell out of tables because they won’t don’t want to learn the box model
    2. Using javascript (generally frameworks) that are themselves specifically-typed to a browser. (this is generally because they don’t actually know javascript)
    3. PHP devs who think they know how to code/Java devs who think they know how to dev UI

    Fact of the matter is, UI isn’t that much of a chore anymore.

    • 167

      Writing your website in such a way that it can easily compensate for IE6 means writing websites like it’s 2002.
      We have HTML5 and CSS3 now, and if we didn’t leverage these new techniques we’d be ignoring a decade of progress.

      IE6 is an ancient browser with serious issues. It’s got massive security leaks, poor standards support (even back in the day) and should have been phased out years ago. Even Microsoft wants to get rid of it.
      It’s not even like VHS to DVD or something like that, because browsers are free.

  113. 168

    Erez Ben Shoham

    November 6, 2011 11:01 am

    You Should support only the latest version of each browser.
    Dont support IE at all
    IE users dont care how your website looks, otherwise they would use a good browser.
    Fire your stubborn clients
    If you want to know which client to fire?
    when they call you, you see their number and you know you dont want to answer.

  114. 169

    Hi Lea,
    Excellent post. We would like to translate your post in french and repost it on our website, plz contact me to see if we can work this out.


  115. 172

    I wish the webdesigners would collectively charge +300% more for “Legacy Browser Support” rather than to consider all this crap. These old techniques to support costs too much time and they inferior innovations by consuming the web designer’s time to make it and by blowing overhead.

    For those are not willing to pay +300% or not willing to upgrade at least to the present (if not to the future), I’d like to show up a lock for yesterday people and a key next to the download links of modern browsers. Or I show the website for yesterday’s users as it would look yesterday: Times New Roman, blank background, just text all around, some images where the contents dictate it, no forms and no JavaScript. (Better than the not-so-yesterday marqueed blinking gif-stunning ones…)

    As we have to consider mobile, different desktop browsers and even still the IE bugs, I don’t see why the whole legacy has to be supported. If some people consider IE6, why they don’t consider Netscape Navigator? Because it’s not as widespread as IE6? Why support Opera then? And why would I need accessibility for YouTube or browser games? From economical points, this simply doesn’t work and this article about obligations of the web is spare. There is no obligation. There are market shares; and the majority wins.

  116. 173

    yeah, the article is good. Before few months, i faced weird issues for the normal static pages, which is really disappointed with the requirements. May be it takes time to take for people to foget their own cumbersome old browsers :), to make the Web developers Happy :)

  117. 174

    I totally agree. We have supported legacy browsers by default for all our projects, but I guess it’s time to change.

  118. 175

    FlashPoint Network

    November 7, 2011 7:08 am

    Totally agreed. The problem I run into is that customers often times don’t care about browser support. Granted, my clients are the small, 0-10 employee start-ups. They (most of them anyway) don’t have a concept of cross-browser support. The only time I hear from them is if they see a problem when browsing the site on their IE 3.something browser.

    Personally, if we as developers/designers stood our ground and *ONLY* developed for standards-compliant browsers, I believe The People would get tired of looking at crappy-looking sites and switch to a browser that displayed the site as intended.

    **Stepping off my soapbox now**

  119. 176

    I do really think that now, we should stop the support for old browsers, they evolve, we should too.

    Because is like make actual things to function in the past. That’s not only impossible, is also stupid.

  120. 177

    My take: Microsoft should kill ie6 over the air…

  121. 178

    If they want IE6 support, DUMP THEM. They’re a waste of your time.

  122. 179

    Sebastian Sulinski

    November 8, 2011 8:08 am

    It is a difficult one, but quite frankly – if we all ignored it – no one would ever use it as they would be forced to upgrade to a modern browser.

  123. 180

    Double quote in URI = FAIL

  124. 181

    Fuck ie 6. I / we offer no support for that piece of crap. the best way to deal with this is not to mention ie 6 at all to clients. the less they know about this stuff the better. otherwise they want to play art director and project manager.

    hopefully the very small number of people out there using it will see how poorly pages look and upgrade. and if they don’t upgrade, fuck it, execute them.

  125. 182

    Understand the Real Issue – they are required to use IE 6 because of compatibility issues related to some very expensive software thet they might have and your app is not a whole hill of beans in comparison. Get a grip, if you want the business learn to support your customer rather than trying to get the customer to support you.

  126. 183

    Designing Studios

    November 9, 2011 12:58 am

    We do for free. IE6 compatibility is included in all the orders we do and its default browser added on our check list and never opt to pay more/extra to fully support older browsers.

    • 184

      This is one of your sites right? If I were your client and you said you included IE 6 compatibility free I’d probably expect you not to use transparent pngs.

      In fact, in such a basic layout browser compatibility is probably never going to be an issue, so I’m surprised you didn’t fix this in your testing.

  127. 185

    Great article!!
    I think charging the client for IE6 support is a must. It also is a very frustrating process to get the site working on IE. Even with the new browsers – IE 9 behaves very differently. There’s a lot of potential to standardize this and make life a lot easier,

  128. 186

    I’ve recently started to build ngo websites which will will be viewed in developing countries, a lot of people around there are still running windows 98 (perhaps even 95!) on a 256kb/s connection.

    And I reckon Africa is one part of the world that is quickly in the rise when it comes to internet usage. So before we completely abandon ‘legacy’ browsers consider unobtrusive progressive enhancements instead.

  129. 187

    Oh come on! For my projects i charge for compability with IE6 & IE7 but seriously, is this compability is such a big problem ? If U know what You doing just inform client that advanced part of site will may be disabled (slideshows, animations, etc.) If clients want this you inform him that You need use flash and it will be cost extra. But rest You can achived by additional 1-3 hour of works. For design is no problem at all. We have boilerplate and so many cool stuff that i think now is easier make project that will be compatible with older browser than speaking about this ;)

  130. 188

    johny the browser

    November 10, 2011 3:50 pm

    If all of Us will do what clients wants (i.e. coding for old browsers), then we can’t be angry that clients still want it…

    I don’t see movies on VHS or even CD today – why? Because not consumers decide about that but people from industry, experts and men who want’s go forward, not back.

    Don’t support old browsers – ie6, ie7 or old versions of modern browsers – this stops evolution of the internet. This is not clients fault but only web developers – remember that!

    Sorry for my english :)

  131. 189

    Hans Christian Reinl

    November 13, 2011 3:20 pm

    Thanks for this post, Lea. I really like the idea about serving content pretty “plain” for older browsers. In fact I try to do the best I can for oldIE as far as the budget for a project covers that point at least a bit.
    Aral Balkan said something in his talk at Fronteers this year that is somehow a really good thing to consider: We as developers want to show what we can do and should therefore serve the best possible experience for as many users as we can. And to my mind this is a true statement and I like to strive for this.

    For all the customers who you want to convince not to support oldIE anymore you may want to check out Paul Boag’s booklet “Where are my rounded corners?“. I’ve published a german translation of this booklet.

  132. 190

    The best (read: worst) experience of this that I have ever had was when one client complained the site didn’t look “right” in… IE5. To my eternal shame, several layout tables followed thereafter…

    (This was 2011)

  133. 191

    surprised by -2 votes, on my old posted comment. though my comment is in harmony to the
    money bag race illustration >> Money always wins the argument. (Image: HikingArtist)

  134. 192

    Richie Thomazoni

    November 22, 2011 1:02 pm

    Great article! But it’s a little far away from my reality.
    My problem is that my clients are city halls of small cities in a poor state of Brazil, with computers with IE6 installed and without updated. And the customers think it is absurd to charge more for something that should be the basics for them. ¬¬

    *my english is not that good. Don’t care about mistakes.

  135. 193

    Awesome article – can’t agree more. I vote for 2nd option. I really never though about this like that. Maybe this is the best solution. And everybody may do that.

  136. 194

    My personal belief is that any site that has a dollar attached to it (meaning is some type of e-commerce site) that you automatically provide IE6/7 support.

    Additionally, mentioned above, if a site is getting a large segment of users using IE6/7, then you support it and work it into your quote. To call out “charging extra” for supporting IE6/7 is like blackmail to a site that has a large segment of those users.

    I work for a major US retailer, and unfortunately the in-store kiosks are IE6, so I have to support IE6 for everything I do. Additionally, even if the segment is small – 5% for example, this still equates to millions of dollars for some companies.

    I would love to say I work for a boutique that churns out CSS3 and HTML5. But I don’t. I work with real world applications that have to work in all browsers. And it’s made me a better developer for it.

  137. 195

    Mark Joseph Rivera

    December 22, 2011 2:24 am

    Ok, base on my experience, I literally hate old IE browser too. Although we need to admit that all things and part of our job are 50/50 for that matters. Why ?
    “Customers is always right. / Visitors are just passers by only.” Make note of that to your mind.

    But, we have to do our best here.
    I will recommend Google Chrome Frame plugin for “Customer is always right”. At this part, we can avoid waste of time defying broken layouts in all old IE browsers. With this, you can also educate your client with far behind idea over modern browsers and latest outputs of design compatibilities. In result, Win-Win for us if you will insist this to your clients.

    Now, how about “Visitors are just passers by only”. These users are actually out-of-reach from your goal.
    I have few cases of this situation in which too funny for me questioning about the alert window of Google Chrome Frame. I’m like, what the…? they didn’t read or don’t understand what is the purpose of that thing to that site. “My Goodness”. At this, you will notice people who just visit the site is just a crap visitor and don’t pay attention to your alert info. All they have to do is their purpose. “ignore alert, read, read, and read.”

    What will be the best solution here.
    Currently I’m tired of this, but we should be more patient here (since it is not our site). All we need is to simply do a fallback-code. It is not that hard to create IE hacks where it is developed and researched by best developers. Again, short-temper is a loser.

    Im using custom BOILERPLATE HTML5 of Paul Irish and customize UAX-Compatibility to EmulateIE7 which IE7 is more closer to IE6.

    TIP: when designing website, make sure first that you’re aware of clients default browser, and try to eliminate fancy designs so that it is not that difficult to integrate while coding your final output.

    @Lea: thanks for this good article.

  138. 196

    Web Developer

    April 25, 2012 3:52 pm

    This article is hilarious! 30 – 100% more for cross browser compatibility. I have to agree with all the comments that say you need to brush up your CSS skills if it takes you this long to modify a site!

    If you had a serious grip on the CSS and the techniques to solve the common cross browser issues you would be charging an extra 5%.

    Also, it’s interesting that anyone who say this receives lots of thumbs down. I guess they don’t know how to code either or just fancy you.

    Will you let my post stand or just remove it?

    • 197

      I agree with you in here: “…brush up your CSS skills if it takes you this long to modify a site”.

      Yeah, there is definitely some ‘additional’ CSS skill required to tackle IE6 (and let me throw in IE7 too).

      However, I don’t agree on charging only 5%, we can’t be that… I just leave it at that.

      BTW, I up-voted your comment.

  139. 198

    Peter Nadasi

    May 31, 2012 9:05 am

    Mostly they wants IE6
    for web apps because they have others older systems are running and specially designed for IE6.
    For web shops: support as many browsers as possible, to access and serve more customers.

  140. 199

    As someone else pointed out, virtually every IE flaw is well documented now, and in all cases, if you write good code to begin with, then at best it’s going to take about 12 extra lines of code, and about an hour of your time, to fix anything.

    100% extra for IE support, the fact that you admit you don’t take on client work that much anymore, and the fact that you’re a conference speaker and college lecturer just show what an amateur you are.

    Those who can, do.
    Those who can’t, teach.

  141. 200

    I would love to drop IE6 but the reality is some of our sites would lose many thousands a year if IE6 users couldn’t use them. I don’t go all out to make everything pixel perfect in IE6 but it just needs to work and be usable and to be honest most of the time it doesn’t take any extra effort to make that happen.

  142. 201

    Internet Explorer itself is dead. I’d say most people don’t use an alternative browser because they don’t know there are better browsers. If they did, we would see less people browsing the Web using IE.

  143. 202

    what if “your boss” said he want the support for IE6, 7 ?
    i had that kind of request before. even i show the data from some people refuse to understand the reality and still stick with yesterday rather than move forward to tomorrow. :/

  144. 203

    Hasan Hüseyin Çakır

    August 10, 2012 1:06 am

    I totally agree with your article! People who doesn’t know the acknowledge can’t tell us add some more features for free. Before starting a project there must be a written agreement that protects customer’s and developer’s rights…

  145. 204

    At first I was asking myself who could have writen such a good article. But then I saw the author’s name. Classic.

    Anyway, I don’t charge my clients yet because I don’t have to (I work with agencies that mainly want modern browsers and mobile/tablet support). But the idea of charging the client, depending on their own will to have prehistorical browsers support seems to be really good to me.

    I’ll keep that in mind when I’ll get stupid clients. (Oops, did I say stupid?)

  146. 205

    I am impressed, as usual, by this article. I see some people are commenting, however, why would anyone still be using IE6 and IE7? Well, let me say this: Some companies require their users to use IE7 because of security reasons. I won’t name names, but they have all of the potential security issues resolved with that browser and will not move forward until they’re completely sure they’ve cleared all security risks for the next step up. This means hundreds of thousands of employees working there are stuck with that browser. Although, I guess they could wait until they got home to look up something that wouldn’t pull up for them at work…

  147. 206

    Normally i just support IE7+. I don´t loose my time coding on IE6. What i do is create a conditional comment to detect IE6 user and educate them to updated their IE to a decent version (a good example can be found here – ). Let´s educate them…

    If you guys visit this link - – you will see that just 0.5% of the internet users use IE6. Again, let´s educate them.

    Sorry about my english…

    My 2 cents

  148. 207

    I develop amazign sites with css and jquery, but I have to say if it takes 3(!!!!) hours to fix an IE7 bug, you really need to brush up your css skills. All my sites are crossbrowser compatible but if you have good code base, you really dont need to spend that much time fixing bugs

  149. 208

    Eduard Ruzga

    April 17, 2013 9:49 am

    Never had problems like this, I charge based on how much time it takes me, new or old tech is are just on how much time they take to implement.

    As for argument of “they will take it to others who do not charge for IE6”, well if it ruins your work motivation and you end up with smaller hourly wage(well you did not got payed more yet wasted more time) then let others handle such clients. I work to live, not live to work.

    On other hand I always check how to speed up my development as it makes me more competitive + allows me sometimes to raise my income as I do more productive work.


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