Friday, April 10, 2009

Tell your site visitors to upgrade. Help get rid of IE6


Web designers has been rallying for years to get rid of Internet Explorer 6 from people’s PCs and for good reasons. Internet Explorer 6 is a nightmare for web designers, yet they can’t ignore it because around 15% of the population is still using the dinosaur. After the release of IE8, it’s high time we make a serious effort to get rid of it for once and for all.

bringdownie6 Most people are who are still using Internet Explorer 6 are ignorant of the issues and a majority of them have no idea what a browser is. Unless and until website owners take it as their responsibility to educate them we might never get rid of IE6.

Fortunately, Internet Explorer understands conditional comments tags that can be used to give special instructions meant only for IE. Designers have been using these tags for debugging purposes and we can use these same tags to offer helpful advice to visitors who visit the site using IE6. I have been doing this on Instant Fundas using simple CSS to display the following message to IE6 users. Notice that I have offered a short explanation, simple to understand by non-tech savvy users and non technical. Feel free to use this on your own site.


A few weeks earlier, a certain Jonathan Howard created a Javascript called Sevenup inspired by Google’s effort and a campaign started by a group of Norwegian websites. This script displays a simple message to IE6 visitors in a lightbox pop-up encouraging them to upgrade to a newer browser and offering a few points on why they should do it. Sevenup has gone through several improvements since it’s first appearance and support for plugin is on the way.


A new script called ie6-upgrade-warning has emerged that apart from displaying a warning message informing the user to upgrade the browser, it displays a list of alternatives available. The webpage is still visible behind a transparent background, but access to it is prevented. The idea is to force users to upgrade from IE6 and avoid the website from a bad reputation that website is not rendering correctly in IE6.


There is another such Javascript created by another anti-IE6 campaign called Stop IE6. The Stop-IE6 script can be run in two modes:

  1. no mercy is harsh. Any visitors using IE6 or lower will be prevented from visiting your site. A warning in-page message will be shown explaining them why they are not welcome, with a link to their campaign where they can fully understand the reasons.
  2. tolerant: This will cause a warning message to be displayed to IE6 users, but they still will be able to visit your site.

If your hatred for IE6 is intense you can choose to be outright abusive by flashing any of these ‘overly judgmental IE6 splash pages’ created by one such Microsoft hater. I wouldn’t recommend using these though. (4 more available on the said page)

IE1 IE2  

Do it whichever way you want to, but do it. Let us make the world a better place sans IE6.


  1. See the huge problem here with the lingering of IE6 (which is taking far longer to die than IE5 or Netscape 4) is due to corporate IT depts. They can't upgrade to Vista and IE6 is the default on Win XP. People on a locked workstation can't install an alternative browser.

    So the person using IE6 likely doesn't want to be using it, they HAVE to.

    Anyhow the "No Mercy" approach is particularly harsh since the user is typically a victim of their employer, not just a dumb/lazy numbskull as we often assume...

  2. oh and this is my fav:

  3. @Ron: Right. A recent Digg survey revealed that 70% of IE6 users are forced to use it at work with no option to use an alternative. So not all IE6 users are dumb as we thought of earlier.

  4. Anti Explorer is a small piece of code you can place in your site's HTML which stops Microsoft Internet Explorer (MSIE / Explorer) from rendering your page. Along-side this, a notification alerts the user he / she is using MSIE and prompts him / her to download Firefox instead.

    We've all been there. We design our site with Internet Explorer in mind, only to find we have to resort to numerous hacks and complicated code to get our site looking like it should in MSIE. Numerous Web Citizens have written hacks and workarounds for MSIE, only to be dismayed at all the extra effort they had to put in to get their designs cross-compatible with MSIE.


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