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Jeremy Keith

Paul Burgess said “An underlying factor to this whole argument about dropping IE6 support the fact that your average web user, or in fact most people do not know what a browser is, let alone what version of IE they are using. If the site displays incorrectly or looks wrong, they will just think it’s broken.”

That’s equating “dropping IE6 support” with “the site displays incorrectly or looks wrong.” Is that necessarily the case?

If we’re talking about what Dan Cederholm calls “progressive enrichment” then what the IE6 users will see is a slightly duller version of the site with fewer text effects, fewer rounded corners and fewer gradients. Does that mean that the site is displaying incorrectly?

If, on the other hand, we’re talking about layout issues where content overlaps or is clearly out of place then yes, people using IE6 will think the site is broken. But what is the solution in that case? To just fix those glaring problems or to try to make the site look exactly the same in IE6 as in all other browsers?

I’m throwing these questions out there to point out how unproductive it is to talk purely in terms of “supporting” or “dropping support”. We need a wider vocabulary of terms than that.

I like Lauren’s short and snappy definition that “‘support’ should mean usable, not pixel perfect.”

Antoine asked about the user experience for IE6 users and how that will be affected by using the Dean Edwards script. Well, that’s where the equation comes in. The download time for the script is a penalty that IE6 users will pay. To figure out whether or not the penalty is justified, plug your numbers into the equation. If you get a low result, it isn’t worth penalising IE6 users with the longer download time; you’d be better off spending some time on IE6-specific development.