If you work with web design, one of the themes, sure to come up is: does your site show correctly in all browsers? And many books still claim, that your site must be compatible at leeast with Internet Explorer version 6.
But is that true?
If we look at the w3schools.com statistics it no longer is true. According to w3schools.com Internet Explorer is not the most used browser at all. In December 2011 IE’s share was 20,2%, smaller than Firefox (37.7 %) and Chrome (34.6 %). And the share of IE6 users was as low as 1,3% while erlier versions are not even in the statistics.
So the ruling of the “gurus” to keep your design compatible with IE6 is for 1,3% of all users only, those who still have not updated.
One has to be on the sure side of course, but who is still using IE6? Idealware.org tells you, that China and South Korea still have large shares of IE6 users, but most of the world has upgraded, or uses other browsers. Idealware.org, says the total share of IE6 users is 11,6%. These numbers are dated March 2011, when according to w3schools.com IE has a share of 25,8% and IE6 of 3%.
How precise these numbers are, is difficult to tell. For me it is clear, that no extra precautions need to be taken for IE6 users if your site is aimed at Europe or the Americas.
Microsoft has declared IE6 is dead, and says the share in the US is under 1%, and the same is for Mexico, Sweden, Austria and Denmark.
And what is the meaning for a Danish web designer? If you work with HTML5 you probably use scripts to detect and compensate for browser behaviors. And you probably will go on using the scripts, since they are easy to work with. In my opinion there is no longer need to take special care of the ways IE6 renders HTML, unless you want your site to be seen in China, South Korea, Japan, South East Asia, Saudi Arabia or South Africa.
It is said, that sites like Google prefer HTML5, and that sites using it rank higher in the search results. HTML5 also is easier to use in several ways, so there is no cause not to use it. Testing for IE6 compatibility one can forget without getting a bad conscience, unless you have IE6 on a computer that can run it easy at hand.
Even if the “rule” says your site must compatible with as many browsers as possible, I doubt many developers test for Netscape or for small browsers. Only the large browsers like FireFox (37.7 %), Chrome (34.6%), Internet Explorer (20,2%), Safari (4.2%) and Opera (2.5%) will be in the testing. Development is about looking into the future, not into the past. The time needed to test for IE6 compatibility costs as much as the time for development, so there you can see a good thing to reduce the cost of development.