A better method of “supporting” IE6?

TobyJoe writes about supporting IE6:
“Instead of refusing content to IE6 users or breaking brand guidelines by disrupting their experience with a patronizing notice, why not relegate them into a tier of Content-Level Support as opposed to Design Support.”

At this point, I think most of us realize that the end-user is not the problem here, but the system administrator or, more likely, their boss.  As Craig Buckler points out to me in a SitePoint article about Microsoft’s latest attempt to encourage IE6 upgrades, the problem is not “old network software” but “legacy web applications”; that is, web apps that were built back in the day when IE6 was king and would not work properly in modern browsers.  The cost (and aggravation) of  upgrading those systems would be astronomical…

So, instead of completely blocking IE6-users, or interrupting your page layout (and annoying your users) with a useless message, TobyJoe recommends serving your print CSS to IE6, pointing out that “we don’t penalize printers for their lack of a good box model.”

And this is something we already do to a certain level, right?  Writing our advanced CSS for all modern browsers, then either sprinkling a few hacks here-and-there for IE6, or creating complete stand-alone IE6-only CSS files and serving them via conditional comments, right?  So we’re really only talking about adding IE6 to a group with printers and screen readers.  So, we’re not talking about dropping support altogether, but simply changing the level in which we support IE6…

As TobyJoe and several of his readers point out, this is a decision that should be made on a case-by-case basis, but I do think it is an option that could be added to the support matrix.

And speaking of options, Jonathan Christopher offers another option altogether

Happy CSSing,

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