The Pain Of IE6 And Application Development

Yesterday, a vendor advised my client the new feature requested to be implemented doesn't work quite right with Internet Explorer (IE)6.  The feature works fine with all "modern" browsers but IE6 is a major pain point.  You may ask yourself why we're even having this conversation.  Well, because we're talking about the Federal Government.  There are legacy applications out there that were built on IE6 and it's not an easy migration.  There are some Agencies which ONLY use IE6 and the users don't have permissions to install a new browser.  So, what do you do?  Do you embed a browser check in your code and advise the users they need to use a different browser?  Do you "fix" what would otherwise be a clean implementation by making it work with IE6?  I've seen issues with IE6 happen over and over again.  Even with my website(s), I pay attention to legacy Internet Explorer traffic.  I'm happy to report my IE6 traffic is 11% of my overall traffic, down from 21% a year ago.  Still, I will continue to test IE6 until it falls below 10%. What lesson can we take away from this?  Do your homework!  The vendor should have done an analysis (or known stakeholder system requirements) before implementing the new feature.  Catching it in QA is too late.  A little due diligence or prototyping could have saved a lot of time and money.  Knowing the current customer base, the vendor should have known this feature would not be accessible by all and advised the customer.  What would you do?

I would love to read your comments or feedback.  Please post them below.



IE6 Friend or Foe?

Upon reviewing my Google Analytics account, I discovered 25% of my web traffic is from users using Internet Explorer 6. Almost the same amount of my AdSense revenue is from IE6 users. Being my site is designed for the current browsers, it misbehaves when viewed by IE6. I can't just ignore them, since clearly one quarter of my ad revenue is coming from these users. Still, I want to offer the best user experience. If you want to read more about the same issue impacting others, read the Mashable article. I'm seeing quite a bit of talk on Twitter about this issue. I wonder if it will have an impact.