I recently was told about a discussion at a local web design meetup on designing for Internet Explorer 6, the browser designers love to bash (…and so do I). During this discussion, the majority of vocal participants stated that they refuse to design for IE6.
Unfortunately, I was unable to attend, for if I had, I would have stood up and pronounced each defamer foolish.
First, you don’t design for a browser. You design for your target audience, humans, however broad or niche. Based on your audience, you can gather some idea of the browsers you might need to support. Corporate America, then your designing for Internet Explorer, including version 6. If your targeting middle age or seniors who just use the computer for email, web surfing, etc., then you’ll need to target Internet Explorer, including version 6, Firefox, and possibly Safari. How about targeting educational institutions or creative folks. Then there might be an influx of Safari folks. The point is that based on your audience (that you are designing for), you should target those devices.
Say you had a website that offered real time traffic information. Wouldn’t it make sense to target mobile users, people who are in transit, on the go?
If you are currently dealing with an active site, it would make sense to obtain some insight from your web analytics package. I recently started work on redesigning a site for a furniture restoration service. The first thing I did was to install Google Analytics on the site, to gain various insight. Surprisingly, 40% of the current site visitors are using Internet Explorer 6. So why would I create a design to exclude these potential leads for my client?
I keep hearing people ask “how long will we have to support Internet Explorer 6?” The answer is unknown, likely a year or so longer, based on your audience.