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Rachel Andrew

I don’t think that the market share of IE6 and 7 is so small that we can go down the route of not telling clients there will be differences. From a purely business-sense point of view, if you don’t mention it and then the client sees the differences on another computer (as commenters have pointed out), you will then need to explain yourself and it will look like you are making excuses.

I advise our design agency clients as follows:

In the spec simply explain that there are browsers around today that are very old technology-wise. They don’t support some of the interesting things that we can use in designs (opacity is often a good one to mention as clients understand it).

Explain that we can make the site essentially look the same in IE6 but it will involve potentially simplifying the design for all browsers and/or costing an additional amount to work with hacks and so on the get things to work. In addition these hacks may make changes to the site more costly in future.

Alternatively explain that we can allow the designers to fully embrace the possibilities offered by modern browsers and give IE6 a simpler – but still attractive – version of the site.

This then puts the decision into the client’s hands. Do they accept the additional costs and potential cost to the design for all users to get their same look in IE6 or do they accept a simpler design in IE6 and let the designers really design for the modern web? The decision can then be made part of the signed off spec for the work and it won’t come back on the design agency as a failure on their part.