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Should we continue to support IE7?

August 15th, 2012 by Erick Beck

While looking through the analytics for yesterday’s post, I decided to take a look at browser use and see how many of our visitors are still using IE7.  We have been doing a lot of behind-the-scenes work on templating style sheets, and to be honest IE7 compatibility has been the last thing on our list — we build the site for everything else and then come back in and add a hacks file to make it work in CSS.  Now that we are spending more of our time working on things like mobile views, I have to ask whether keeping sites working under IE7 is still worth the effort.

The numbers show that we are pretty much inline with national usage figures — about 4.5% of our traffic comes from IE7.  On one hand I would love to say that is enough of a minority that we don’t have to worry about it, but in absolute numbers that is more than 30,000 page visits per month.

I think it might be enough, though, to warrant taking a middle-ground approach.  Do all sites need to look the same in every browser? (correct answer)  We can therefore move forward with our project and realize that we can still design our site to meet current-generation browsers without completely leaving behind IE7.  We can design our sites so that IE7 users don’t get all the bells and whistles, but still get the heart of the content that you are trying to convey.  This is the difference between supporting a browser and optimizing for it.  We can do one without doing the other, make sure that everyone can use our site, but reserving the majority of our time on the experience that will be shared by the vast majority.

Thoughts?  Where does everyone else stand on the issue?

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012 CSS, HTML, Programming
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2 Comments to Should we continue to support IE7?

  1. For our flagship, it.tamu.edu, we saw 4.2% IE7 in the past month, 5.1% in the past year; starting to see IE10.
    When this site was launched in January 2010, IE7 was stable and didn’t need hacks to make it work; IE6 needed hacks. Since then we have not included hacks for IE6 in new sites. Now days, IE8 is the oldest browser we have lying around. We look at new responsive designs on it – and say a few choice words.

  2. Chris Siems on August 15th, 2012
  3. Agree with the philosophy Erick. At this point, as long as the site looks relatively stable and they’re at least able to reach the vital content, I’m good. Stressing over whether every jquery plugin is going be streamlined for them just doesn’t have any ROI for that population.

  4. Wally on August 16th, 2012

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