No more (support for) IE 6 Chris | January 22nd, 2009

As of early March, 2009 we will be phasing out support for Internet Exploer 6 (IE 6). This does not mean you won’t be able to use our site with IE 6. It means that all future improvements and fixes will not be guaranteed to work properly for those still using IE 6 after that point.

There are several reasons we are deciding to do this, the top among them being IE 6’s lack of support for Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) standards. A great deal of the user interface of crowdSPRING is controlled with CSS – the layout, colors, fonts, etc. IE 6 was launched in 2001. The first CSS standard (CSS1) was publised in 1996. The second (CSS2) came in 1998.

Also, IE 6 doesn’t play well with modern JavaScript techniques. Many of the features of crowdSPRING rely on JavaScript to function properly. These two factors alone have cost us (and countless other designers and developers the world over) immeasurable amounts of time and fried brain cells attempting to support IE 6 along side all modern browsers.

Microsoft itself strongly urges all Windows users to make the move to IE 7 (Why should I upgrade?), which, although not perfect, has better support for CSS, JavaScript, and enhanced security features. Internet Explorer in general is the most targeted browser when it comes to spy-ware, viruses and security holes.

In terms of numbers, between May and September, 2008, 7% of people visiting crowdSPRING were using IE 6. In comparison, between October, 2008 and January, 2009, 5% were using IE 6. All the while our user base has been steadily growing, so we are seeing an overall decline in use of IE 6.

We are not the first company to do this. 37signals did so back in October, 2008. It has also been reported that Apple does not support IE 6 for users of its MobileMe service, and Google advised Gmail users to leave IE 6 in the dust at the dawn of the new year.

It’s time to face the music. By continuing to support a seven year old browser we are limiting our ability to create a better user experience on crowdSPRING. We want to make our site easy to use and enjoyable for all involved. We want people to stay on our site. We want people to come back often. We cannot continue to guarantee that experience for a very small portion of our user base and attempt to grow and improve our site at the same time.

There are three modern browsers we can recommend as alternatives to IE 6: Firefox, Safari and Internet Explorer 7. We will continue to completely support these after March, 2009. In the future we also hope to provide complete support for Opera and Chrome, but not at this time.

Want to share your thoughts? This announcement has been posted in the forums as well.

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  • DDstudios

    *Thumbs up*

    This is a really good news. It have to start somewhere.

  • marckohlbrugge

    Do you know statistics of what percentage of buyers are using IE6? Because I think this will be higher than 5%. (I think buyers are more likely to use IE6). Let’s say 10% of all buyers are using IE6, this would mean you could possibly lose 10% of buyers (and projects) (depending on what bugs IE6 might cause). You probably thought this through very carefully, but I thought I would mention it anyway.

    Anyway, I think it’s a bold statement and I like it! I’m a webdeveloper myself and I hate to code for IE6. If enough companies decide not to support IE6 anymore people will have to upgrade.

  • smitholi

    I’ve been waiting since the release of IE6 for someone to stop supporting it. Well done CrowdSpring!

  • ULTRASQUARED

    is crowdspring still going to redesign the website/webpage….i remember you guys saying something like you will be redesigning the website.
    If yes…when?

    because i will like to see a new design :)!

  • robzonenet

    Right on! Most browsers are free. If someone is stuck using windows 2000 and only has IE6 then they can download firefox, opera, safari..

  • http://crowdspring.com chris

    Thanks for the encouragement, folks. It’s nice to know you’re supporting us. We strive everyday to make the site better for you, and this decision is key in that goal.

    We are taking a little bit of a risk by doing this, but it’s a necessary one, plus, being a small business is about taking risks. We’re hoping that more companies will agree and do the same. Change is not always a fun thing, but it has to occur, otherwise we’re forever stuck in the past.

    marckohlbrugge – We don’t (yet) have exact numbers on buyers using IE6, but the overall trending is downward, so we’re hopeful. If we can figure out a way to get more precise numbers on this, we will. Thanks for the concern. While we won’t totally support IE6 after March, we will do our best to be sure buyers will still be able to post projects using it. That is our bread and butter, after all.

    smitholi – Thanks. We’ve been waiting for others to do this as well. We hope to get some momentum going by throwing our hat in the ring.

    ULTRASQUARED – We are not planning on redesigning the entire site any time soon. We are, however, planning on reworking several areas of the site in the upcoming months. This would include some layout changes as well as significant functionality in key areas. The actual design we will be sticking with for the foreseeable future. Take a look in the forums for more info on our plans for rework and be sure to share your thoughts.

    robzonenet – That’s right. All of the alternative browsers are free, and for most people they are a great solution. There are a handful of people who cannot update or change their software because of the limits set by IT and administrative departments where they work. We’re hoping this will change soon as more and more people like us drop support for iE6.

  • http://crowdspring.com chris

    Oh, and DDstudios – muchas gracias.

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