Dear Internet Explorer 6 User:

Dear IE6 user:

I hate you.

Nothing personal, you understand, and really I just hate your choice of browser, not you.  But that lead was too easy to resist.

You may not realize this, but you make web developers’ lives (and your own for that matter, but we’ll cover the selfish angle first) much more difficult than it needs to be.  See, when you browse to a site with IE6, innocently shopping for your widgets or reading your content or whatever it is that you’re doing, the web server dilligently records your visit, and notes the fact that you are using IE6 instead of a more recent browser.

And when that happens, dear reader, it means poor web developers like me are a little more likely to have to support IE6 when we’re making all the websites that you know and love.  And honestly, we’re tired of it.  It came out in the dark ages of the web, in 2001, when Microsoft and Netscape were in the midst of fighting with each other over what standards web browsers would support, and thus it has very poor support for web standards.  And web standards are a Good Thing for people like us, and thus for people like you who use what we build.  Web standards mean that we can build something one way and be reasonably sure it will work across various browsers and operating systems.  If that’s the case, we can build stuff in less time and for less money.  We can spend more time and money doing cool stuff instead of lame stuff like chasing down cross-browser bugs.

But you, dear IE6 user, are standing in the way of this effort.  Because those pesky web servers are logging your every visit, we know that you are out there, much as we would like to ignore you.  Sadly, your numbers are still large enough that we cannot yet ignore you, lest we lose your vaulable pageviews.  Some people in our field, you should know, have the idea that we should ignore you anyway, which is pretty tempting.  But those people generally don’t work in places where they have to answer to people who don’t care about web standards but only the money that comes in from the web channel.  So most of us still have to deal with you.

But let’s say that you don’t really care about progress on the web.  “I can still make my purchases on Amazon and read the New York Times”, you might say, “so why should I care?”  Well, there’s a personal angle here too.  Yes, dear IE6 user, you could even stand to benefit too!  IE6 has many known bugs and security vulnerabilties that newer browsers don’t have.  Microsoft tries to do a good job of patching it up to keep it from blowing stuff up, but of course they are going to put most of their energy into IE7 and the upcoming IE8.  So honestly, they are only dealing with you because they are forced to, as well.  If you upgrade to the newest version of IE, your browser will be more secure, and will be less likely to experience weird errors or even crashes.  Your computer and I will both love you a little bit more.

So if you’ve read this much of my (sorta) impassioned plea, dear IE6 user, please: just visit the IE downloads page and upgrade.  Or hey, you could upgrade to Firefox and get an even better browser.  But either one is cool – whatever’s easier for you.  And thanks!

2 Responses to “Dear Internet Explorer 6 User:”

  1. April says:

    Ha!

    We were JUST allowed to upgrade to IE7 at work. Can’t put anything on our computers that isn’t supported and amazingly it has taken this long for them to start supporting IE7.

    It was a sad day for me when they quit supporting Netscape.

  2. jbgoode says:

    Yes, laggardly IT departments are definitely one of the targets of this letter. Anyway, tell your local IT guy thanks, from me!

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