Using Internet Explorer? Make it IE8 or newer!

One of the challenges faced by anyone who works with websites is that of not knowing in advance what your website's visitors are going to use to do so. The only sensible thing to do is to code to industry standards and keep fingers crossed that visitors are using standards-compliant web browsers.

I once had a productive web project turn into chaos when I discovered that a key contact at the client end was using Internet Explorer 6 to look at the material Chilli Chocolate Marketing was producing - to him our website campaign looked utterly broken while to us (and other people at the client end) everything looked great. The confusion and miscommunication that ensued caused a lot of unnecessary drama and it really took the shine off the campaign.

Many of the sites we manage for clients are powered by the open-source content management system Wordpress. In the latest security update to Wordpress its development team also announced:

With this update, WordPress has discontinued support for Internet Explorer 6. It has required increasingly complex code trickery to make the WordPress dashboard work in the IE6 browser, which was introduced 10 years ago and does not support current web standards.

Phew! What a relief.

Believe it or not IE6 is so old that even its successor IE7 has been replaced. Which brings me to the point of all this: as Internet Explorer 8 (released in March 2009) is at present the most widely-used version of Internet Explorer and is in fact the last version of Internet Explorer to be supported on Windows XP, our website campaigns now officially have IE8 as our target baseline for usability.

That means when we do web work it will be designed to look good and behave properly in IE8 or newer. Actually since IE8 itself isn't that great as far as standards-compliance is concerned our work will look even better in a real web browser like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Apple Safari.

So if you're using Microsoft Windows please click on Windows Update and allow the system to update your browser to the latest supported version. Your web experience will be more enjoyable and safer.


No more hideous hackery to try and make things work in Internet Explorer! Hooray!

-- (who still has the install CD for Internet Explorer 1.0)