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Dropping IE8 Support

Whenever web developers hear words “Internet Explorer 8” in regard to a project specification, they cringe, start to look for the nearest exit, or simply run to a corner and weep in silence. This browser is a synonym of disastrous support for web standards and a painful debugging process. That’s why, last year I decided to drop the support for it.

The list of reasons in favour of this decision is long, but there are three basic ones:

  1. Usage of IE8 across the Web is rapidly decreasing.
  2. Lack of proper support for modern web standards.
  3. Enormous costs of supporting IE8 in general.

In June 2013, statistical usage of IE8 fell below 6% worldwide (according to W3Counter). This is good news for web developers, but even better news for their clients and last, but not least, visitors.

This is due to time consuming process of debugging and adjusting (or in some cases, even redeveloping) modern markup, styles and scripts to be compatible with awkward implementation of such standards (or a lack thereof) in IE8. All the cost associated with this process is usually transferred to the client, thus stripping each budget from extra money which could be put towards developing better, more engaging user experiences.

The only requirement I always fulfil, concerning IE8, is to make sure all the content is still accessible in this browser. The visitor should always be able to load the page and get to the content you have contained on it, regardless of how it looks.

Thanks to some software companies and banks, we still can’t forget about IE6, IE7, or IE8, since this is a platform they have designed and built their software upon. Nonetheless, the future looks much brighter.

Browser vendors have learned from lessons about the downsides of developing software in a vacuum, hence updates, bug fixes and new features are arriving faster and more often than ever before. The only company that didn’t seem to adhere to this process is Apple, as its Safari is still being released annually with each new version of their OS (both mobile and desktop), but that’s another story.

Hopefully, adoption rate of newer IE versions will keep increasing, to push IE8 below the famous 1%. I don’t know how about you, but every time I start a new project without the need to support IE8, I’m getting very excited about the possibilities.

Addendum

I only found out after posting this article, that even Google has dropped support for IE8 across all of their Google Apps. That’s some really good news.

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Professional digital designer, specialising in UI/UX for web & apps. Opinionated gamer (@_skepticalgamer), avid petrolhead, and a proud full-time dad.