When Can We Hide From IE5/Win?

Maybe it was the tiramisu talking, but Doug, Ethan and I were having a conversation recently, where we half-joked about hiding styles from IE5/Win. Extreme? Too early? It’s a question I’ve been pondering a bit, and Ethan’s been thinking about it even more, with his decision to hide his site’s CSS from IE5/Mac.

bar graphMy curiosity lies in browser stats. Naturally, here at SimpleBits, I’m told that 2% of all traffic comes here by way of IE5/Win. Surely, a percentage low enough to begin thinking about hiding styles — but the readers here, are highly skewed. What I’m more interested in, is getting a rough estimate on the perecentage of IE5 users across the web in general. What is IE5/Win’s percentage on high-traffic, mainstream sites these days? The number can only be going down.

Thanks to Paul Maiorana, my colleague over at Fast Company, I can tell you that roughly 4% of their users visit FastCompany.com using IE5/Win. The audience for FC is skewed as well, and so my hope is that you’ll do a little investigating of your own, and perhaps we can pull together a non-scientific poll on the state if IE5. Feel free to leave numbers in the comments.

I can remember early on in my experimentation with CSS, thinking it was risky and crazy to hide styles from Netscape 4 — that was years ago, and the amount of users at that time was roughly 2% as well. At what point can we say it’s been long enough for the next browser in line?

IE5/Win’s support of CSS2 is far from perfect, yet it is possible to get things looking close to other standards-aware browsers. But that consistency doesn’t happen without added time, frustration and necessary hacks and workarounds. Up until now, I haven’t thought twice about not trying to get things looking the same in IE5/Win. But can you imagine being Box Model Hack free? Can you imagine just not having to worry about the poor support for CSS that adds a significant amount of time to the development process?

You could also imagine sending IE5/Win a basic set of CSS rules that does everything but layout — much in the way that Doug was suggesting a basic stylesheet that all devices (including handhelds) could render that’s devoid of anything too complicated. IE5/Win is capable of complex CSS — but it comes at a price that we’re all well aware of.

So when will it be time? For me here at this site, it could very well be tomorrow, or next month. 2% is a comfortable number. And that 2% will be always be able to read and use the site without any loss in functionality. We’re never talking about cutting people out, rather we’re talking about moving forward — and perhaps taking as many people along as we can. Lots of questions. Lots to think about.


  1. MikeyC says:

    Are you counting “IE5″ and “IE5.5″ as one? I think we’re probably at the point where support for “IE5″ could safely be dropped, but I’m not sure about “IE5.5″ just yet. Another question though is would the recommended upgrade path be to “IE6″ or to actively discourage that in favour of other less insecure browsers? I think you probably do people a disservice to recommend they upgrade to a newer browser that has better standards support but a terrible security record.

  2. Lasse Gejl says:

    Stats from top 20 mainstream Danish sites: http://www.fdim.dk/?vis=page&ID=73
    (Text in Danish, but the browser names are universal)

  3. After reading the related posts and discussions to this, I agree it’s probably time to move on for some sites, and I’m also leaning towards a basic stylesheet for all users (including NN4, IE5/Win, IE5/Mac, etc), then laying a complex set of styles over the top of that for better browsers (the layouts and cool stuff).
    The problem isn’t convincing us though, it’s convincing clients and stake holders. On my next few jobs, I think I’ll take note of how many hours IE5 eats up as tweak style sheets and add hacks to make it acceptable… Then I’ll have some concrete data (“Supporting IE5/Win adds X% to the total CSS cost of an average site”) which I can present to clients, and let them make the decision.
    The thing is, EVERY site has a skewed demographic. Fast company has lots of business types. Simplebits has lots of web designer types. JustinFrench.com has a massive % of Mac/Safari users, etc — the only stats we can look at to decide if IE5 is irrelevant is the stats for that particular site. If it’s a brand new site, then we have to make an educated guess based on what we know about similar sites.

  4. Steph Gray says:

    Under 10% seems quite a consistent message, but it’s hard to find a truly representative source:
    Try: W3Schools (likely to be skewed) or BrowserNews which draws on a few sources.

  5. For the sites I maintain at work (clothing company)
    IE 6: 72%
    IE 5.5: 5%
    IE 5: 16%
    IE 5.01 (Mac): 0.7%
    (Hardly anyone is using Mozilla/Firefox)
    Personal site:
    IE 6: 52%
    IE 5.5: 1%
    IE 5: 7%
    FireFox: 32%
    Safari: 3.2%
    One important thing to notice (a common trend) is that IE5 always has a higher percentages than IE5.5.
    I would not recommend dropping support for any IE5+ browsers yet.

  6. Mike Piontek says:

    The numbers certainly aren’t large, but they still seem significant. There have been plenty of times when my own preferred browser had less users.
    It just doesn’t seem worth ignoring them to me… IE 5 isn’t that much worse than IE 6. IE 5 for Mac, on the other hand, is a completely different browser, with a slew of unique problems. I’d love to ignore that one myself, but it’s (sadly) one of the better browsers for OS 9, and I know there are a fair number of people stuck using that.
    I find that supporting these browsers is a relatively small portion of the work (about 3% to 6%) of building a full site, so for the meantime I’ll keep putting up with them. So far I haven’t been forced to compromise a design for their sake… When I do, then I’ll start to really consider it.

  7. Chris Fritz says:

    From a site of mine which gets visitors from roughly ages 12 to 25, a site where I talk about Firefox and IE whenever I do layout tweaks, it’s got roughly (from a sample of 1,000 unique visitors):
    Firefox/Mozilla/Netscape: 25%
    IE6: 70%
    IE5: 3%
    Opera/Other: 2%;
    Every time I work on the layout, I’m ready to drop IE. I always end up trying to make things work for IE6 users, though.
    One person posted on a update about my site’s saying saying that those with a black and white TV can’t be upset when they can’t see shows in colour. Since I can barely get IE6 running in Linux, I don’t even know if IE5 gets a layout for my site. If IE5′s the black and white set, IE6 must be colour, and Firefox 1.0 High Definition. I have to give IE6 a dumbed down layout just to work, and Firefox (and Opera, Konqueror, Safari, etc.) get the “real” layout.
    Isn’t using IE5 a security issue compared to use IE6, anyways? Upgrade people, upgrade! It was so much easier for me to convert people from Netscape 4.7 to Phoenix 0.5 (but Netscape 4.7 was crashing on a lot sites by then).

  8. Eli Simpson says:

    Why ignore IE5 (5.5 and 6, for that matter) when you can use Dean Edward’s IE7 functions to fix most of the bad IE behavior? CSS development costs plummet as you can just develop for the W3C standards instead of this browser or that browser. I’m at a loss as to why any personal site would ever do anything different (commercial sites are easier to understand). I guess it’s fun hunting down IE CSS bugs sometimes, but enough is enough!

  9. John Serris says:

    I have a very low percentage of IE5/5.5 users these days but I’m still supporting them. Why? Well, to be honest, with most layouts I’ve put together in the past, IE5′s hackage is almost identical to IE6 (plus a couple of extras). I’m not saying every layout is like this though.
    Here are my stats

  10. Mahalis says:

    IE 5.0 : 0.1%
    IE 5.23 : 0.5%
    IE 5.5 : 0.2%
    IE 6.0: 69.7%
    Total IE: 70.7%
    My results shouldn’t be skewed much.. it’s a pretty random message board, no real reason to use a decent browser. o.~

  11. Mike D. says:

    I’m glad the idea of shuttering out obsolete browsers is finally gaining some steam again.
    Also, it is important to note that although certain people will claim they are “still supporting every browser” merely by hiding their CSS from these browsers, let’s not kid ourselves. By presenting a completely style-free site, you are putting forth pages which your browser-challenged visitors will likely never visit again. They don’t look right, they don’t feel right, and nor should they… given that they are missing their clothes. I’m not saying that I disagree with this policy because I don’t… I’m all for it.
    Just call a spade a spade though: by hiding CSS from a given browser, you are more or less dropping support for that browser. More power to you…

  12. Mike D. said: by hiding CSS from a given browser, you are more or less dropping support for that browser.
    I’d say dropping design support. But readibility and usability is still there, of course. And I think that’s an important difference. But I believe we’re saying the same thing here, and would agree that by serving an unstyled site, you’re not exactly inviting repeat visitors.
    On the other hand, I have heard of Netscape 4 users preferring an unstyled site to a bloated, nested table variety. IE5 users are probably slightly more spoiled.
    I should also clarify that I’m not recommending anything with this post, rather I thought it was time for a status check on IE5, and time to get a handle on how large a user base it still has.

  13. Sage Olson says:

    I like the idea of not necessarily stripping all styling for IE5 and other retarded browsers, but giving them basic styling, and then serving more complicated stuff to IE6 and all our standards-compliant buddies. *Makes mental note to do that in future*

  14. I think the Internet average is somewhere around 1.5%-2%, it depends on where you get your numbers from. I think the big consideration is if profits are the uptmost concern, you’ll want your site looking and functioning (to some degree) decently on as many browsers as possible. While IE/Mac looks to be seriously deficient at first glance (when looking at your CSS-driven site for the first time in IE/Mac), the extra CSS rules you have to apply is fairly minimal (in my brief experience with it).
    Sure, it’s nearly impossible to get some key features of Javascript working correctly (attaching events, for example), but with a little server-side programming to back up your Javascript you’ll have everything running *decent* (albeit with more processing time and bandwidth usage).

  15. Ed Knittel says:

    I am the web manager for hospital system in the Chicagoland area.
    MSIE < 6.0 = 7.1%
    IE 5.5 = 4.1%
    Firefox 1.5%
    IE 6.0 = 86.5%
    My site is probably a very accurate snapshot of the general internet audience.

  16. Kyle says:

    I don’t think asking how many people use IE5 is an issue… one very scary trend I’ve noticed is the amount of rouge robots running out there identifying as IE 5.00 (which is a false useragent, yet counted towards IE 5′s total).
    The second thing to consider is whether the amount of people using IE5 even notice when a layout breaks. I know that my parents can’t notice layouts breaking… perhaps they’re just used to it.
    I suppose the true “test” would have to be in a high volume website that makes a lot of money off of just the website. Cute IE5 support and see if sales decline.
    For now, I support IE5 because I must (requirement at work). For personal sites, I throw it out the window though. But then again, for my personal sites the % IE5 is so low it’s not even worth mentioning.

  17. John Serris says:

    Dan I forgot to mention that reinvigorate might be a good reference for stats too.
    Check out the pie charts in the side bar.

  18. Suzie says:

    I may be out of line here, but I believe if we constantly cater to inferior versions, we do not motivate them to upgrade.
    These are FREE upgrades here. It would be one thing if we were segregating against races or poor people, but the most-up-to-date user experience is one click away.
    The more you compromise your design to cater to these ludites, the more you compromise yourself. Stay ahead of the curve!

  19. I think it’s a great idea. IE5 is too much of a headache to deal with for only 2% of web traffic. Like you said, Dan, IE5 users will still receive the unstyled content so if the pages are well designed, the information is all there. Maybe I’ll implement this on my site in the next few days.

  20. Sara says:

    I think that it all boils down to the site’s target audience and its current browser statistics. On certain sites (such as this one) it might be perfectly acceptable to exclude people from viewing the design, but on other sites (like larger businesses), it would effectively be equal to turning away potential customers at the door. That said, I don’t necessarily think that a site has to display perfectly in IE5, but it shouldn’t look like a complete visual disaster either.
    By always catering to the older browsers, we not only fail to provide a reason for people to upgrade, but we also cause stagnation in web design. There is no way that we can move forward and take advantage of the latest and greatest features of CSS if we are continually being bound by the constraints and limitations of obsolete browsers. There’s a point and time when it’s essential to realize that it’s simply not practical to fully support such browsers as IE5 anymore.

  21. Perun says:

    here the Data from a german Webcounter-Service with 20,000 Users: http://www.webhits.de/deutsch/index.shtml?webstats.html
    MSIE 80.9% (IE 5: 9.5%)
    Mozilla 13.3% (all Geckos)
    Netscape 2.6% (NN 4.x)
    Safari 1.5%
    Opera 1.2%
    n/a 0.2%
    other 0.3%

  22. Cody Bailey says:

    I am currently undertaking the task of redesigning a colleges website. We have many different users of browsers coming to the site, and we need to make sure that we can reach ALL potential students/current students/alums.
    Making a IE6+/Gecko CSS, and then a “everything else” CSS would be a good thing for me to do.
    An added note… since all pages are in XML format run through XSLT, I can designate a tabled layout with all sorts of funky tags.

  23. Lachlan Hunt says:

    I dropped full support for IE5.x years ago, and have also dropped support for IE6 on my own blog. It’s definately not worth the effort to make something look right in IE5. As long as it degrades gracefully, with no loss in functionality (or at least good alternate content provided), then dropping support for obsolete browsers like IE5 will cause no serious problems, and I think it would be a very good move.

  24. Joey Romero says:

    I love this topic. My team just finished a huge SOX compliant intranet site using xHTML/CSS and I wanted to drop all support of IE all together. Mainly because it is soo frustrating. But the browser usage I get for that site is 100% skewed because the idiotic “corporate” policy is to use IE only, except fof those on MACS, HAHAHA!
    Now the main site that I have started working on the redesign, I also wanted to limit the support for specific browsers. The main site is for a high tech company that gets between 25-30k visitors a month. And everything from tech people, to integrators, to investors (we are public) and media visit our site. But when I looked at the browser usage, I get depressed. Oh well, maybe next year:
    IE6: 66.1%
    IE5.5: 2.2%
    IE5: 0.2%
    NS7: 0.9%
    NS5: 5.8%
    Safari: 0.9%
    Opera: 0.8%
    Firefox: 5.3%!!!
    I am but one man, how can I educate these people?!?!

  25. Data from ranking.pl which is source of net traffic information. According to numbers they provide, IE 5.x has about 14.% of Polish market. This includes all – Polish and foreign – users browsing pages from .pl domain, AFAIK.

  26. Adrian says:

    … idiotic corporate policy is to use IE only …
    Many big companies and especially many government departments run on standard builds. A few years ago this was IE. There was a point where IE was the best browser. When you have 20 000 computers to upgrade to a new standard build with an overworked and under resourced IT department, you don’t care so much what the best browser is, as much as the fact the current browser works.
    Many people would prefer not to use an old browser, but don’t have that choice. Many people don’t even know they could be using a different browser, they just sure what’s on the desktop in the office.
    So before one knocks idiot users and idiot policies and decides that people who use IE don’t deserve this or that, remember things aren’t that simple.
    Also remember you get the audience you pay for. A few years ago I got mainly IE users. Why? Because my site looked great in IE and broke or looked rubbish in everything else. Then I coded it to work in Firefox and I started noticing my FF stats increasing. Then I coded it (mostly) properly and although I cant test it on Macs it works (mostly) ok on Macs. And my Mac stats started going up.
    If it looks rubbish on browser X you’ll find browser X stops visiting you as much as you might think they are upgrading. You get the audience you pay for.
    IE – 79.5% (6=72.6%, 5.5=3.2% 5=2.4%)
    Moz – 15.6% (FF=12.8%)
    Saf – 2.2%
    Opera – 1.1%

  27. Patrick says:

    It’s worth keeping in mind that this isn’t quite the same thing as the Netscape 4 situation. Whereas NN4 had as much support for CSS2 as a tissue paper bra, IE5 does support CSS2 – at least to the extent of allowing layout manipulation.
    IE5 support is frustrating, but it’s worth it. The compromises necessary to accommodate it are miniscule next to the compromises necessary to accommodate Netscape 4, which were seriously detrimental to those with more capable browsers.
    It was (and is) worth dishing out minimal presentation to NN4 because although the web page design is compromised for those users, the benefits of applying web standards for the majority of users (lighter code, greater flexibility etc.) far outweighs those compromises for the minority.
    But when we compare IE5 vs. the rest, those benefits aren’t very great and a good business model wouldn’t exclude 2% of the market (and I suspect it’s nearer 10% in the grand scheme of things) for no reason other than it’s slightly harder work.

  28. Small Paul says:

    As ever, yeah, depends on your audience. But given the ubiquity of Microsoft, I’d say it’s risky. Why?
    1) Personal sites like Simplebits. Although the vast majority of your site traffic is probably the converted coming to enjoy some more preaching, every once in a while you might get some poor old chap, who never develops for anything other than IE, still using IE5. Maybe he’ll give up on the site straight away if it’s not styled too well. Then again, maybe you could detect his user agent and pop in an educational message.
    2) Corporate environments. I’d imagine there are lots of companies who haven’t quite upgraded everyone to IE6 yet. Are you happy not having their business? No?
    3) Less tech-savvy home users. My parents are still using IE5.5, because they’re over 50 and had a hard enough time plugging the computer in. And given their age, they have money to spend. Ka-ching.
    Couple of years yet, I reckon. The growth in internet users, and thus the rate of change in browser usage percentages, will probably never be what it was in the late 90s/early 00s.

  29. quis says:

    The figure is less that 1% on my site (which I imagine has a fairly non-techy audience). I have been serving an unstyled version to anything less than IE6 for ages now, so this might have pushed people to upgrade. I don’t really have the time or resources to test for anything less than IE6 now because a PC isn’t my main system.
    As for upgrade paths, anyone seeing the unstyled version of my site will be shown a quick paragraph explainging why and directing them to a page which suggests that they move to something non-IE for optimal experience.
    This may not be such a good solution for commercial sites however.

  30. Chris says:

    I work for the federal government and I develop web applications for internal use. I would love to drop support for ie5 but like other people mentioned above, my users have no control over which browser they have on their machine and I need to support what they currently use (ie5, ie5.5, and very few have ie6). I am happy to report though, that within the next few months we will be upgrading to windows xp and ie6. At which point I will rejoice and no longer hack to make ie5 look perfect.

  31. Arve says:

    I started doing a “live” redesign of my blog, and dropped all CSS support for IE during this beta phase. The only styled part they’re seeing is a plea to upgrade to either Firefox or Opera.
    (No, I’m not planning to make that into a permanent solution – this is just so I don’t have to deal with IE bugs before I must)
    Have I lost any IE visitors? Actually, no. Have I heard even one complaint from an IE user? No.
    Do my IE visitors visit the Opera and Firefox download pages? I track the outgoing clicks from my upgrade notice, and they do check out the alternatives.

  32. Adrian says:

    You know if Microsoft did that for non IE browsers, the world would have a fit.
    An educational message is fine. But saying “to use my site, or see it in the way I intended you to see it, you must run this browser of my choosing” is wrong. Remember the user must be allowed to control his environment not the web dev. You may not have got complaints but that doesn’t mean people like being served the second rate version.

  33. Alan says:

    One site I have that get about 1million hits a month shows these browsers
    IE 6.x 74.69%
    IE 5.x 11.56%
    Firefox 2.63%
    The IE 5.x has steadly dropped from over 20% last january.

  34. juque says:

    My statistic:
    MSIE 6: 47%
    MSIE 5.5: 1.3%
    MSIE 5.0: 2.5%
    Firefox: 14%
    Mozilla: 10.3%
    Opera: 2.6%
    Safari: 2.1%
    Unknown: 17%

  35. Arve says:

    Adrian: Am I saying they “must upgrade”? No.
    I am actually not even saying that I’ll be keeping the notice – it’s a stopgap explanation of why the page looks very 1993 for them.
    What I am suggesting, though, is that users, once made aware that there are other alternatives, are quite willing to upgrade.

  36. I work on a utilities (gas and electricity supplier) website in the UK and over the last 6 months, 5.5% of our visitors used IE5.0.

  37. Davido says:

    I think we’ve got to conclude that anyone who is still using IE5/Win doesn’t care what their page looks like or would understand the difference anyway. Or did I miss something here?

  38. Jon Hicks says:

    On my site IE 5 and 5.5 has dropped from 15% (when I started blogging last May) to less than 1% (I can’t get a more accurate figure). Certainly for my own site I’ve dropped IE 5 PC, but have kept up IE 5 Mac, with having a lot of clients on OS 9 still.
    Commercially, I think its best to include them if at all possible. Its not hard for some of the minimal sites I’ve done, but on the more complex I’ve taken the risk of excluding IE 5 PC.

  39. jeff says:

    Gosh that’s elitest.

  40. jeff says:

    “I think we’ve got to conclude that anyone who is still using IE5/Win doesn’t care what their page looks like or would understand the difference anyway. Or did I miss something here?”
    Gosh that’s elitest, don’t you think?

  41. Adrian says:

    Davido many user cannot change their browser, but do care what it looks like.

  42. renato says:

    Data from the home page of the website I work for (huge traffic, in Brazil):
    - IE 5: 6.7%;
    - IE 5.5: 5.5%.

  43. So I work for a large, education non-profit and our visitors are skewed towards teachers and government-types who often have no control over what browser they use. In a school system, teachers often feel very lucky to have working computers and the technical staff is usually one person who’s priority is to keep machines working.
    That being the case, we see a lot of IE 5 traffic (comparatively). The real hopeful trend is that it’s dropped dramatically from about 20% to 5-8% in the past 12 months.
    I wonder if there’s a halfway point. Don’t lose all of your CSS for IE5 but just keep the color/font properties and let them have non-positioned layout. Basically now that we’ve separated content from presentation, can we separate presentation into typography and positioning? Probably not worth it in the long run, but something to consider.

  44. For the restaurant chain Bertucci’s (which we redesigned/relaunched in April), we get the following stats over a period of a few months and 200,000 unique sessions:
    Internet Explorer
    • 6.0 ⇒ 89.61%
    • 5.5 ⇒ 5.93%
    • 5.0 ⇒ 1.27%
    • 5.01 ⇒ 1.02%
    • 5.23 ⇒ 0.88%
    • 5.22 ⇒ 0.49%
    • 5.17 ⇒ 0.19%
    • 5.16 ⇒ 0.12%
    • 4.01 ⇒ 0.11%
    • 5.14 ⇒ 0.08%
    So, In total, IE 5.0 versions account for about 4.05%, IE 5.5 is 5.93%. As Bertuccis is a mainstream Italian/Pizza chain along the East Coast of the U.S. (From MA to NC), I imagine they draw a pretty diverse audience (in terms of computer knowledge/use) which could provide a good baseline.

  45. A note, the above stats are based on a breakdown of IE only, not of total browser use across the site. In total, IE accounted for 84.23% of unique session over this period.

  46. Jay says:

    63.18% — IE6
    1.48% — Gecko Based Browsers
    1.02% — IE5/Mac
    .82% — Safari
    The rest are probably strange configs of IE6, IE5 and other browser minutia.
    Site is a promotional products distributor, mostly business users.

  47. I am the webmaster for several large, high traffic sites. Below is the % of IE 5.x visitors to the 5 heavest sites I manage:
    Racino Site: 11.1%
    Gaming Site: 2.3%
    Tutorial/Discussion Site: 5.6%
    Gaming Clan Site 1: .7%
    Gaming Clan Site 2: .6%
    I am presently rebuilding some of these using pure XHTML/CSS rather than table-based layout. After analyzing our visitor data we decided to drop CSS layout support for IE/Win 5.x, IE/Mac, and NN 4-6.
    Another amusing thing we noted in our analysis is a steady decline of IE dominance. FireFox has gained 17% of our visitors (to a total of 20%) and Safari has garnered 6%.

  48. Josh says:

    I have a music review website that gets a varied range of age groups and browsers. Most of the visitors are regular people, not techie-types. My stats for IE 5.0 is 2% and IE 5.5 is 1%. So, I feel safe in dropping support if I ever get the time to do so.

  49. I work for a VERY LARGE health related website, we generate over 3 million unique hits a month. We currently run a mixture of legacy code and current xhtml/css pages. Every new update we make sure we try to do it as complient as we are allowed by our user base. Here are the top of the list of browser types we got in november.
    Browser     Hits    % of total
    1. IE 6.0    2,772,052   60.1%
    2. IE 6.0 (AOL)    1,052,654   22.8%
    3. IE 5.5    133,062   2.9%
    4. Mozilla (Gecko)    72,967   1.6%
    5. MSN Explorer    72,401   1.6%
    6. IE 5.5 (AOL)    68,155   1.5%
    7. IE 5.0    56,800   1.2%
    8. IE 5.01    55,490   1.2%
    9. NN 7    46,199   1.0%
    10. MSN Explorer 6.1    44,009   1.0%
    11. Firefox    26,923   0.6%
    12. Compuserve 7    24,012   0.5%
    14.IE 5.23 (Macintosh)    17,982   0.4%
    15. Safari 1.2.3    16,724   0.4%
    At 1.2% IE 5 still a large amount, It is even lager than our total MAC users, even though we don’t support IE 5.2 MAC.
    Its funny these still show up.
    64. Netscape Navigator 4.07    8
    72. Netscape Navigator Gold 3.04    2
    75. Netscape Navigator 2.02    1
    These numbers will be very different at the end of this month, so far in the last 20 days Firefox has 44,096 hits equivalent to 1.9%. wich is almost a 300% increase since last month. At this rate it will have 10% by March next year!

  50. mike h. says:

    For epa.gov (main site), with about a million page requests a day, we see:
    60.8%: MSIE/6
    12.8%: MSIE/5
      1.8%: MSIE/4
    Content truly matters for a government site, and most users don’t even notice the design. They only notice when they can’t find something they need.
    So why don’t we switch over to all-CSS/XHTML now? Inertia.
    The current look-n-feel template is table-heavy, and the next version is still a year away. Rest assured that we’ll drop support for NN4 and IE below 5.

  51. Timothy says:

    We are currently doing a redesign of the Delaware County Community College website using webstandards. I am dying from problems provided by MAC browsers particularly IE for MAC. Here are our statictics for IE.

    IE usage statistics for dccc.edu

    Version – Percentage

    6.0 – 33.03%

    5.5 – 7.76%

    5.01 – 1.62%

    5.0 – 0.60%

    4.01 – 0.17%

    In addition there is a 48% unknown statistic. Chances are that there is a significant portion of this unknown percentage that comes from IE but there is a bright side to that. We have positive browser alternatives installed on all of the student machines here. Doing our part in the battle for better browsing.

  52. Eric Meyer says:

    <sigh type=”weary” />
    The answer is simple: when your site’s (or sites’ if you have more than one) user logs tell you that you can. Not before then. The user stats from other sites, or from global-aggregation surveys, are worse than useless.

  53. My site last month: 5%. That makes app. 100 people :X

  54. redjade says:

    im using my own laptop right now at a cybercafe. I asked the cybercafe owner why he has IE5 loaded on all his machines and not firefox? He said because firefox has problems with microsoft pages that users look up and they got tired of explaining stuff to users so they have kept the default browser as IE5.
    any of this true?

  55. Let’s not forget this conversation is about IE/Mac (which is IE 5.1, 5.2). There is a huge difference (although not in name) between IE 5.x on Windows and IE 5.x on Mac.
    While both browsers are a pain in the rear to deal with, IE/Mac has it’s own special set of problems that present a bigger headache than IE/Win. Cutting support for IE 5.x/Win would be insane (in the business industry), as many people still use this browser.
    Forcing people to simply “upgrade” their IE/Mac is not really an option. Got a Mac OS 8/9? Go to Microsoft’s site and download the latest version of IE. What do you get? IE 5.1. Renders CSS-based sites badly (without additional rules) and doesn’t implement object-oriented Javascript very nicely. You cannot force these users to use a different browser, you have to accomodate these visitors as best you can.

  56. John says:

    I agree with Eric Meyer. No matter if its personal or business, design it for your audience. What if your best friend uses IE5.0 at their government job and can’t change it? Would you still cut design for it then?
    It’s an interesting argument given that the percentages for IE5.x are almost universally higher than say Safari (an oversimplification I know, but there’s a historical point there somewhere).
    Design for people, not statistics.

  57. Dante Evans says:

    I made the desicion to hide styles from IE5/Win back in June. However, I was using conditional comments and javascript to use the DOM to remove the main LINK element. I removed that method for lack of a better way. Now that you mention it, Dan, I think hiding just layout would be a great idea.

  58. Matt Smith says:

    I work for a State Medicaid program. Our site is accessed by the provider community (doctors, hospitals, billing services, etc.). The numbers below are for 3.85 millions hits for December 1 – 19:
    IE 6.x = 90.2%
    IE 5.x = 8.9%
    Netscape 6.x = 0.3%
    Netscape 7.x = 0.3%
    Other = 0.3%
    Of course, we’re using a packaged portal product so even if our numbers supported making a change, our hands are tied to keep us from going in and making sweeping changes.

  59. AkaXakA says:

    As always, it’s only the sites audience that matters for a site.
    However, you were interested in some general stats:
    A major gaming site with subdomains included too.
    Internet E 5.0   4,48%
    Internet E 5.5   1,27%
    Internet E 5.01 0,83%
    As others have found: 5.0 is indeed more common than 5.5 strangely enough. I guess this is because people smart enough to update to 5.5 have updated to 6.0 too.
    This has made me realise I can safely use the IE7 patch to make the development of the website a lot easier.

  60. Robblimo says:

    What about not supporting IE all Together? Much in the sameway many sites require(force)IE to view their content.
    Force people to users to use a standards compliant and defect free browser.(Like that would be so bad). Or provide users a less scaled down IE version of the site.
    It would make development a lot easier and the web a little safer.
    Lets change the tides and turn the tables and take the web back.

  61. Adrian says:

    Forcing people to not use IE is a good method of aggravating and annoying people.

  62. Adrian says:

    As an aggregate, on all the sites at the quicksurf.com domain, IE 5.X comprises 3.16% of the traffic for the year 2004.
    For the month of December, so far, it’s right at 2.02%. November is 2.13%, October is 4.12%, September is 2.93%. I have logs going back to 2002 if you’re interested..
    There really isn’t anything special about my sites, so I think I have kinda average demographics.

  63. Adrian says:

    Oh yeah,
    If I get 5 visitors or less out of every 100 (or 5% or less) for a particular browser, then I don’t do anything special to make that browser work on my site. To me, it just isn’t worth the effort.

  64. Well the stats we’re collecting in this thread are going to be skewed because most of people that visit this or our sites are most likely to know better than IE, but anyway:
    For xtdesign.net:
    Mozilla/FF: 39%
    IE6: 36%
    Google robot (heh): 12%
    Safari: 4%
    NS: 2%
    IE5: 1.40%
    and the rest (Konqueror, etc) are too few to name here.
    I’m not sure if IE5.5 is represented with IE6 or with IE5 in my stats software, but I guess it’s with IE6 just by looking the numbers.

  65. Heiser Erwin says:

    To be honest I havent’t bothered testing sites on IE5 for over a year now. I test on Mac IE, Safari, Firefox,Netscape, Opera and Omniweb and on PC IE6 on Win XP and 2000, Firefox and Netscape on Win XP. If it looks roughly the same in all of these I’m done. I frankly don’t know anyone who still surfs with IE5 or has a computer with Win98 or WinME on it….

  66. Chris says:

    We should understand people still use old browsers but… god. IE6 is pushing 4 years old so what is IE 5.
    Sometimes you just have to say no, how can anything move forward if we have to keep hacking CSS for people who don’t update.
    come on people… IT’S FREE. And IE6 should show up as a windows update so if these people still use IE5 god knows what there computer is like anyway.
    Move on or Move aside!

  67. Paul says:

    For my employer, one of Australia’s biggest e-commerce sites: IE6 79.3%, 5.5 4.4%, 5.0 4.3%, Moz/NS7 9.54%

  68. Anonymous says:

    For some reason I feel the intense need to send out a huge F U to Microsoft for not bringing out a new free IE, and for forcing IE as an incentive package for an OS upgrade, basically screwing the internet sideways.

  69. Trinity says:

    I think that it’s time to give up support for IE5.x, to be honest I’m suprised and impressed that some have the time (and patience) to test on IE5. I for one struggle to test on just the latest releases of such a variety of modern browsers.

  70. Of the hits on our business site (travel/resort company), 93% of the total hits are made up of IE*.
    Of that gross percentage:
    IE6.0: 93%
    IE5.5: 3.5%
    IE5.0: 2%
    IE Other: 1.5%

  71. Bruno Girin says:

    It depends what you mean by not supporting IE5 anymore. If it means that the page displays in IE5, allbeit with a few visual quirks, then no problem. As long as functionality is not lost.
    What you could also do, which is what most software companies do when they want to take advantage of new stuff, is warn users that you are going to stop full support for IE5 in order to be able to use newer technology that IE5 doesn’t support; the site will degrade nicely with IE5 but if they want to have access to the extended stuff they should upgrade.
    A situation where completely removing support for IE5, including preventing IE5 browsers from having access to the site altogether, is if you are developing a site that requires a certain level of security (such as an Internet banking one) and consider the security flaws in IE5 to be a danger to your customers. Have a nice page that explains this to said customers who still use IE5 and it will dawn on them that they should really upgrade to something less flaky.

  72. Jacob Rask says:

    I’m just about to start coding two different sites, and after reading this post i checked their stats and realised that IE5.x are 3% and 5%. On the site with 5% we don’t really rely on ad revenues or sales, and on the first site bandwidth and optimation is a huge issue because of the enormous number of hits.
    I’ll do a basic stylesheet with a content width for easier readability, and then a background color, text color and font family, and that’ll be it for

  73. This may sound trivial, but wouldn’t hiding stylesheets for IE users skew your site just enough to turn off corporate visits? I mean, CEOs of companies looking to hire Simplebits.
    Just a thought.

  74. lee fleming says:

    Below are some browser and platform stats for westportnow.com, a local news site for a town in Westport, CT — it’s a gold coast community so demographically is viewed by higher-income visitors and Westport ex-pats, consumers vs. b2b types for the most part, and many people in the mainstream media (Martha Stewart and many other famous types live in Westport [gr]).
    We currently focus on supporting IE5 & IE6, but will be moving to a different content management platform (from Movable Type to pMachine ExpressionEngine) and when we do, we will (we hope) have a web standards compliant site and will do our best not to have to hack the CSS any more than necessary to support the better than 10% of our audience using IE5x. We’ll try to come up with a design that doesn’t break too badly in Mac IE5x — but we’re not going to spend more than a couple of hours, if that, focused on the Mac IE browser.
    Avg. sessions per day: 3,289.10
    Internet Explorer 37,494 54.28%
    Netscape 7,606 11.01%
    Googlebot 4,912 7.11%
    Mozilla 3,755 5.44%
    YahooFeedSeeker 2,250 3.26%
    Safari 1,492 2.16%
    (unknown) 1,487 2.15%
    Bloglines 1,114 1.61%
    msnbot 514 0.74%
    libwww perl 500 0.72%
    IE breakdown:
    Internet Explorer 37,494 100.00%
    6.0 32,523 86.74%
    5.5 3,471 9.26%
    5.0 454 1.21%
    5.23 315 0.84%
    5.01 207 0.55%
    5.22 109 0.29%
    4.0 68 0.18%
    5.14 67 0.18%
    4.01 64 0.17%
    5.16 63 0.17%
    5.17 60 0.16%
    5.21 23 0.06%
    5.1 10 0.03%
    5.13 9 0.02%
    3.0 9 0.02%
    2.0 7 0.02%
    4.5 7 0.02%
    (unknown version) 4 0.01%
    3.02 4 0.01%
    5.05 4 0.01%
    5.15 4 0.01%
    3.01 3 0.01%
    5.12 3 0.01%
    5.00 3 0.01%
    2.1 2 0.01%
    6.02 1
    Windows 41,372 59.90%
    (unknown) 23,424 33.91%
    Macintosh 3,397 4.92%
    Linux 734 1.06%
    FreeBSD 75 0.11%
    WebTV 60 0.09%
    UNIX 4 0.01%
    OpenBSD 3 Solaris 2
    Windows breakdown:
    Windows 41,372 100.00%
    XP 25,274 61.09%
    2000 8,306 20.08%
    98 4,214 10.19%
    NT 3,299 7.97%
    95 219 0.53%
    9x 54 0.13%
    ME 6 0.01%
    We would love to develop only web-standards-compliant sites and ignore bothersome browsers but, alas, we have to pay attention to real-world users and what the bill-payers want, and make decisions on that basis rather than on our web author wishlist.

  75. Chad Smalley says:

    I think it’ll be a long time before I feel comfortable cutting out IE5. As many others have pointed out, too many people in large government and nonprofit orgs are still stuck with IE5. Such is the case at my day job, so I’m very close to the problem.

  76. Of course all the stats are skewed depending on site and analysis methodology. For the front page of a Mac news site (macsanomat.com), the stats for November are (robots excluded):
    Windows IE 6 9%
    Windows IE 5.5 0%
    Windows IE 5.0x 1%
    Mac IE 5 5%
    Safari, other WebCore-based 61%
    Gecko 19%
    Is this useful to anyone else? No.

  77. On my holidays I had been working on a quite complex layout. It took me about 2 days to make both structure and layout to work in Opera/Firefox and about 2 weeks to find work arounds for IE; I generally spend more time working for IE than making the actual stylesheets.
    As someone proposed, one could use Dean Edward’s IE7 functions, however that doesn’t work that well with accessible image replacement techniques plus it makes the pages a bit laggy.
    Unfortunately, we must all still support IE5-IE6 since that what most people find pre-installed and often the only thing they know, no matter how good or bad it is.
    After all, the web is human-centric (I hope I got the definition right) and not browser-centric, so every designer should focus on what people expect even if the mediums they use are often not as good as we would all like.
    The B&W TV dude ;)

  78. scott mccrossen says:

    re: comment 32. above:
    the thinking that says “users should control the experience, not the web dev.” is so far off base, and something that we as designers and developers too frequently consider as a useful strategy.
    do users control their experience at a restaurant, a movie theater, a grocery store?
    do users control experiences when making a purchase from iTunes, Patagonia.com or even buying a draft beer at their favorite local watering hole?
    No, these services & products identify a market, build a strategy to deliver their service or product to said market, and if we’re very lucky, create an experience that we’ll want to interact with — which keeps us coming back for more.
    the same principles should be applied to web development. I suppose there are sites that would consider catering to people who are well behind the tech curve in terms of browser functionality, just like there are restaurants who cater to people with poorly developed palates and retail outlets who cater to the lowest common denominator.
    First, ID your market. if you determine your market wants to be pushed, wants something innovative, easy-to-use, efficient and beautiful – then drop the worries about old browsers and tell them why you’re doing it. More rewards will be reaped from those who “get it.”
    and that’s the bottom line. whether we’re talking blog traffic, online sales, or customer development & brand recognition.
    as for saying we should give people what they expect (comment 78) that’s like saying detroit should still produce cars that have 8-track players and trunks you can only open with a key from the outside.
    our jobs are to help people move forward. we do so with aplomb if we employ grace along with style and a modicum of education to the masses.
    cheers all.

  79. Dustin Diaz says:

    I’ve dropped IE mac all together a few months ago. Yea, it was a bit premature, but now…I think…is a good time :)

  80. David says:

    Looking through all the stats I think the answer is obvious – ‘not yet’. If you’re building commercial sites for other people, they’re usually not aware and not interested in cross-browser issues – they just want to know their web site will work. So, if they get even one email from someone saying your site is ‘broken’, they’re not going to be happy.
    I’ve started using a strategy that I’ve not seen documented elsewhere: add XML prolog to markup, IE6 is now in quirks mode. Then use IE conditional statements to feed >=IE5 a separate stylesheet. Now I only need worry about ‘two’ browsers – standards-compliant and IE.
    This strategy should mean I won’t need to go back to fix ‘broken’ stylesheets when IE7 / Longhorn arrives, plus there are no ugly hacks littered throughout my code.

  81. david says:

    Here are stats from site that gets between 150,000 to 175,000 unique visitors per month- mainly women of all demographic backgrounds:
    Version Hits %
    Msie 6.02 1 0 %
    Msie 6.0 3386087 84.8 %
    Msie 5.5 137110 3.4 %
    Msie 5.23 33643 0.8 %
    Msie 5.22 17181 0.4 %
    Msie 5.21 2690 0 %
    Msie 5.2 30 0 %
    Msie 5.17 9269 0.2 %
    Msie 5.16 3389 0 %
    Msie 5.15 1200 0 %
    Msie 5.14 2858 0 %
    Msie 5.13 1439 0 %
    Msie 5.12 678 0 %
    Msie 5.1 91 0 %
    Msie 5.02 3 0 %
    Msie 5.01 42075 1 %
    Msie 5.00 23 0 %
    Msie 5.0 45217 1.1 %

  82. Joe Clay says:

    I’ve got some interesting numbers. I’m somewhat proud of them too :)
    As for this week, IE is pretty much non-existant….accounting for all those forums and artsy places I’ve been to recently :)
    Over 2004 though:
    IE (42.21% total)
     6 (87.44%)
     4 (5.12%)
     5.5 (2.12%)
     5 (1.88%)
     Other flavors of 5 (approx. 2%)
    Safari (14.48%)
    Mozilla (13.8%)
    Mozilla Compatible Agents (Firefox and Firebird?) (7.16%)
    Netscape (2.31%)
    Opera (1.59%)
    Misc Bots account for the rest
    Apparently for me IE5 has less share than IE5.5, as would be expected. Basically I have an audience consisting of about 3% IE5.x users.

  83. Dustin Diaz says:

    Here are are my stats.
    Firefox has a demanding lead.

  84. Alex Foley says:

    I run a personal site with a blog and photo gallery of myself and friends. IE 5.x comes in at 2.0%, right in line with your stats. My numbers are also jaded though because most of those who access my website do so on school-configured laptops with IE 6.0 and Mozilla pre-installed. Here’s my stats:
    MSIE (74.5 %)
    Msie 6.0 (72.2 %)
    Msie 5.5 (1.2 %)
    Msie 5.01 (0.6 %)
    Msie 5.00 (0.1 %)
    Msie 5.0 (0.1 %)
    NETSCAPE (0.4 %)
    Netscape 4.0 (0.4 %)
    OTHERS (24.9 %)
    Mozilla (13.2 %)
    Firefox (10.6 %)

  85. Ryan says:

    MSIE 6 79.09%
    Netscape 7 18.72%
    MSIE 5 1.67%
    Netscape 4 0.33%
    MSIE 4 0.16%
    Just noticed the groovy little simple bits gifts in the logo. Nice touch ;)

  86. Satya says:

    hide the style from 2% browsers? sure, i’d do that for any browser below 4%. lots of other people don’t care about 10% browsers.
    but don’t let simplebits encourage web designers to forget about backward compatibility. you should always be there for those who want to style for IE5. even if that’s only 1% of web designers.
    ps. my site’s stats THIS month:
    IE5 : 9.5%
    Firefox: BELOW 1%

  87. Dante Evans says:

    Everyone, how does a 5% margin sound? If your site’s percentage of IE5 is less than 5%, you should not support it. If it is 5% or higher, you should support this poor old browser. I realise it isn’t perfect, but how does that sound in general? I think it would go for any browser as well as IE5/Win.

  88. IE6 is the kind and most of design should be targeted to it.

  89. Jeffrey Schrab says:

    I work for large health care group in the midwest. I think I can say that our demographic is across the board – from young professionals new to the area to senior citizens who have lived here their whole lives.
    I can report on our IE stats for Q4 2004:
    Microsoft Internet Explorer (89.82%)
    6.0 (79.76%)
    5.5 (6.70%)
    5.0 (1.71%)
    5.01 (0.77%)
    5.23 (0.25%)
    5.17 (0.12%)
    5.22 (0.12%)
    4.01 (0.07%)
    Other Netscape Compatible (2.49%)
    Mozilla (1.80%)
    Others (1.76%)
    Netscape (1.22%)
    Safari (0.42%)
    WebTV (0.11%)
    I would say that giving up on the 5.0x users would make sense but not the 5.5 users – not quite yet.

  90. Jin Kim says:

    Setting some arbitrary % at which to drop supporting certain browsers is not prudent. If your site gets 100 visitors a day, perhaps dropping support for 2% of users doesn’t seem worthwhile. But if your business gets majority of its revenue from the site that gets millions of visitors a day, then 2% is 200K people. That’s worth spending the hours (we’re not talking weeks here) that might be necessary to make few adjustments to the site’s templates to work well on IE5. it all depends.

  91. Maarten says:

    I use http://www.w3schools.com/browsers/browsers_stats.asp and then clients statistics to see if it attracts the ‘simple people’ unwilling to update/using things like prehistoric windows versions/ smartphones/ etc. Then we decide what to do.
    But i have to say that if we do implement total CSS2 sites we will hide it for specific platforms and browsers. This is because we choosed for this way of designing and we will take this loss, personally i think different models of how browsers operate makes it already difficult, so why try the impossible in graphic heavy websites attracting 8000 unique visitors a day for example?
    Again then the site will display in the beginning some message and in most cases a link to all information in a sitemap kind of structure so they can get to the information quick. I must say these sites look great in IE3 !!
    But once again, the visitors were the client wants to be presented do make the descision which technique we use. And whatever we then choose will have influence on interaction design etc etc.
    And when you use your techniques in a good way it is simple to generate different sites for different platforms!!!!

  92. Matt says:

    Interestingly, nobody has actually thought about places like Australia where broadband uptake is relatively slow.
    Many businesses here still use shared dial-up connections – and upgrading or indeed installing new software is way too difficult and technical for them. It’s all very well for the web-design elite to sit around and complain about backwards compatibility, but it’s a business reality.
    And now I’ve gone and added another post to a needlessly repeated discussion.

  93. Robert F. says:

    I find it interesting that we talk about dropping support for IE 5, at about 5% average for websites, when browsers like Firefox or Opera have the same share. We say that making it look great in these browsers and giving IE a diminished look is fine, and IE 5 we shouldn’t bother with, when in reality there are about as many IE 5 users as Firefox users, and IE 6 still accounts for a HUGE chunk of the web. 80% of the hundreds of millions of users on the net is a huge amount.

  94. Paul Hart says:

    My stats for a site that gets an average of about 250 a day on the homepage:
    Internet Explorer 6.x — 77.0 %
    Safari 1.x — 5.6 %
    Mozilla Firefox 1.x — 5.6 %
    Mozilla 1.x — 4.0 %
    Internet Explorer 5.x — 3.2 %
    Mozilla Firefox — 2.4 %
    Netscape 7.x — 1.6 %
    Netscape 4.x — 0.8 %

  95. Tek Boy says:

    From my logfiles for 12/2004 (total hits = 3300):
    73.47% – IE 6.0
    13.40% – IE 5.x (below 5.5)
    03.49% – Mozilla
    02.40% – Netscape
    01.06% – IE 5.5
    My employer’s website is still using HTML 3.2 w/no CSS, but a redesign (XHTML 1.1 Strict w/CSS 2.1)is just around the corner in 2005. I’ve already discussed browser compatibility with Marketing, and despite the fact that IE 5.x (including 5.5) still has a fairly significant market share (~14.50%), consistency of presentation and lightweight page sizes is more important to them. One final thing to consider: Mozilla’s market share stands to increase over time, while the IE 5.x userbase will only decrease as users upgrade to IE 6+ or switch to some other browser.

  96. brian says:

    regarding post #94:
    The difference between ie5/win and firefox or Opera is a ton of bleeding-edge development and, what? 8 years? ie5/win is a dead version of a moribund browser. If you’re talking about Moz0.41 or Opera1.2, well alright then. The question is whether it’s time to stop supporting users who haven’t upgraded in a long time. It’s very pertinent to those of us who are interested in pushing web browsing a bit further than what Lynx delivers (but making it accessible, of course). Many of the things we do weren’t even thought of when ie5 was released. Getting it to behave with modest styling is a headache at best.
    The point is that we can tell the user ‘look, we can let go; so can you. please‘ (yes, i’m painfully aware of upgrade issues in corp/govt settings)
    And yes – not supporting ie6 would be pretty stupid for most of us. But no one’s suggesting that here.

  97. tirin says:

    Based on several consumer products sites that I manage, I have seen the following percentages over the last year.
    MSIE 4.0x — 0.18%
    MSIE 5.0 — 2.81%
    MSIE 5.01 — 1.09%
    MSIE 5.5 — 7.99%
    MSIE 6.0x — 82.00%
    Mozilla 4.0 MAC — 0.84%
    Mozilla 4.0 WebTV — 0.34%
    Mozilla 3.0-4.0x — 0.03%
    Mozilla 4.5-4.8x — 0.24%
    Mozilla 5.0 MAC — 0.56%
    Mozilla 5.0 Win* — 3.90%
    Opera 5.x-7.6 — 0.03%
    These percentages represent slightly over a million unique visitors. Note that the newer Mozilla browers (Firefox in particular) have gained about 1.5% share over the last year!

  98. Sally Carson says:

    I work at an electronics retail site that gets roughly 250,000 visitors per week. Probably around 8% of our users are MSIE 5.x for PC.
    We’ve seen an exponential increase in the number of Mozilla users in the last 6 months, that number increased 2% in the last month alone! Mozilla is up to 10% on our site now.

  99. Ryan Oswald says:

    I just want to be a designer. I don’t care about XHTSS XSLMRSS PHPCP XMLST CSSATOM, just let me design! I want to be creative and design a site and manage it. I don’t want my floats and absolutes to position unrelatively while I’m structuring my xhtml doctype cause I have to CHMOD my MovableType CMS for my blogging. So somebody please get this stuff working.

  100. I pray for the day IE5 is finally gone. My stats say 4.89% IE5 and minor versions during the last 12 months, 4.12% during the last 3 months. For some reason I think Microsoft would be better off releasing IE7 instead of pushing Service Pack after Service Pack that nobody uses anyway. I’m sure that this would bring another decrease in IE5 users. Oh well, waiting for Longhorn…

  101. Andy Budd says:

    As some of the above stats show, percentages mean less than the actual number of visitors. 2% sounds small, but that could equate to tens of thousands of users a month on a popular site. With visual design being the only distinguishing factor between many competing companies these days, that could equate to a lot of lost or unhappy customers.
    Personally I don’t find developing for IE5 *that* onerous as long as you’re aware of the main bugs. Sure it would be nice to get rid of “box model hacks” but in the last site I developed I used less than a handful of IE5 specific workarounds and most of these were only needed to get that pixel perfect look.
    On saying that, a couple of bugs IE5 did take me take me the best part of a day to track down and fix :-) However in all honesty this was due to my stubborn desire to know what was going on, rather than any real need to fix the issues.

  102. tirin says:

    Are you referring to IE5 as in v5.0x or do you include v5.0x – v5.5x?
    This is an important distinction (see my stats and numbers above), as v5.0x is really cr*p.

  103. Mats says:

    Realizing I’m a bit late I have a link to share: http://www.w3schools.com/browsers/browsers_stats.asp which shows IE5 @ 4.5%.
    You could make a conscious choice and say that IE5 is too broken for you to pay any attention to it and simply not serve IE5 users a css.
    Just a thought … ;) however evil it may be. I just read your book and I liked it. I am now starting to read Joe Clarks “Building Accessible Websites”.

  104. Cowpens says:

    I didn’t see it posted anywhere above and I don’t know if anyone really cares, but there will be a population of users on IE5.5 for the near future: The entire US Navy and Marine Corps.
    We are subject to the draconian restrictions placed on us by the new Navy Marine Corps Internet (NMCI). This is an abusively large contract held by EDS Corporation. Simply, the Navy has turned over all IT assets and networks to NMCI.
    All desktops are “managed” and the user has no control over what software is loaded on their machines.
    Like most ogre managed IT infrastructures, they are reluctant to change. We have been told that we will always be at least one step behind on all Microsoft products. I am currently on Windows 2000 running IE5.5. When XP is retired by the rest of the world, we will get XP (and probably IE6.0 if it has moved on).
    So point being, half of the US military will be using old crap for probably another year or two. They are trying to get the other military branches to hop on the NMCI bandwaggon which could mean the entire military, active and civilian, will be using outdated garbage from EDS.
    Get this. They also have Netscape installed on our desktops… VERSION 4.7!!!
    I’m sure we are probably a tiny fraction of the entire internet community, but it might point to similar mind-sets held by other IT managers — “If we lag behind everything by one or more generations, we won’t have to deal with all the new bugs.”

  105. Alex says:

    Matt #93 – since the ‘browser landscape’ changes every month, this will never be ‘a needlessly repeated discussion’.
    RobertF #94 – The difference is IE5 requires extra development time and usually custom code, which every other browser then has to also download. The other browsers you mention render code that’s written to the standard perfectly.
    I’m not saying you automatically drop full support for it, but it does have it’s own associated costs.

  106. gulliver says:

    I read about halfway through before biting… and it was Eric Meyer’s remark that got me.
    He’s a guy for whom I have a lot of respect and his comment ‘when user logs tell you that you can. Not before then.’ is sensible and something which I won’t fault.
    Instead, I’ll simply disagree and suggest support for dead browsers be dropped – instantly and without regret.
    I’m not a designer – I’m a marketer. And my money is made by leading the market, not following and supporting it.
    So, I advise ‘serve unstyled with a polite upgrade message’.
    As JZ said years back – ‘to hell with bad browers’.

  107. Vijay says:

    see http://www.fdim.dk/?vis=page&ID=73 and http://johnhaller.com/jh/useful_stuff/browser_statistics/
    for more stats. i’m not usre it’s safe to drop ie5 support, we need a much larger survey, lots of people use goolgle so it would be great if they could get the info (maybe they already log such info).