This morning I had the opportunity to rethink how I handle IE6 support.
I’ve been torn, in the last few months, over how to phase out support for IE6 at my design firm. I’ve always had a one version back policy with my clients when it comes to Internet Explorer. Now that IE8 has been released I should be phasing out our support for IE6. But version 6 has enjoyed a massive deployment in corporate environments that has been made painfully clear to me by my past work with AT&T, Time Warner and other large corporate IT organizations.
How can I turn a blind eye on a still significant portion of my client’s viewer-ship and still help push the general Internet populace toward modernity? The answer, very probably, has been presented by Andy Clarke (@beautifulweb ) at For A Beautiful Web .
Andy has proposed the use of an Universal IE6 style sheet. Think of it as a glorified reset style sheet. The IE6 Universal Style Sheet incorporates Eric Meyers’ reset as well as basic layout and typography styles. The goal is not to reproduce your rich design in IE6 through hacks, but to present your semantic content in a consistent manor focused on great typography and page cadence.
Why does this work for me? Because it allows me to save time, hence expense, when developing content rich sites. No longer do I need to spend hours trying to hack together CSS to compensate for IE6’s inadequacies. I can circumvent the whole issue by presenting content only. I sell this to my clients as the cleanest, fastest, most cost effective way to serve their visitors stuck with IE6. Consider this, I can spend two hours of my time hacking for IE6 support, or just a few minutes to link to an Universal IE6 Style Sheet. That’s a savings of several hundred dollars for my client.
“Page auto-formated for Internet Explorer 6. Upgrade your browser for a richer experience. Please Upgrade IE or you can get FireFox or Chrome.”
Check out this example from Andy Clarke’s website. The gallery below shows his site in FireFox and IE6.