Today, instead of lecturing about what you should and should not want in a web site, I am going to lecture you on what you use to view web sites. First, 3 questions:
- Are you on Windows right now? (If you are on a Mac, you can just ignore the rest of this post. You are all good.)
- Are you reading this on Internet Explorer?
- Is it Internet Explorer 6?????
If you answered yes to 2 or more questions, we should have a little chat.
If you don’t know what version of Internet Explorer you are using, please click the “Help” menu in your toolbar and click “About.”
Internet Explorer is a plague in the lives of web designers, but I don’t expect you to make any changes just to make my life easier. Make your OWN life easier. Did you know that IE6 is full of security holes and makes your computer incredibly vulnerable to viruses? Did you know that most of the web sites you visit every day look and function way better in ANY other browser? Did you know that IE7, while a mile better than IE6, still has security issues? Did you know that neither of them is standards-compliant (they do not meet the International web standards adhered to by every other major browser) and that there is a lot of advance whispering that IE8 is not going to be much better?
I did some research to try to figure out how many people are still using IE6. To the best I could figure out, it is about 20% of web users. This is still a huge number, and baffling. IE7 has been out for more than 2 years, and Firefox and Opera are far superior, more secure, and web standards-compliant. They are also free.
Now just a quick note as to why I would care if you are using a crappy browser that will leak viruses into your computer and destroy all of our data. Well, A, because I am just a nice person, and I want what’s best for you. But B is because supporting IE6 adds an hour (or 6) or more of work to every web site I create. IE6 does not read CSS (Cascading Style Sheets, the code that tells the browser what to put where and how) the same way as the other browsers. In order to make even simple sites look less than ridiculous on IE 6, hacks have to be added to the code to force it to play nice. Every step of the way in the web design process, I have to go and test on IE6 to see what is completely out of place, and write new code just for IE6 to read.
Using IE 6 is like moving into a house in Texas that for some reason has European electrical outlets. Sure, you could use a bunch of converters and replace all of your appliances every time they explode, but if you could install all new American outlets in your house for FREE in about 10 minutes or less, wouldn’t you do it?
Why keep using IE6 when IE7 is more secure? Why use IE7 when Firefox and Opera are WAY more secure and comply to International web standards. And are FREEEEEEEEEE.
Hear my pleas. Say good-by to Internet Explorer and install Firefox (my favorite) or Opera right now!
(And no, I don’t make a dime for any of this.)
The entire web design community thanks you.