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As a web developer, is it ok if I decide no longer to support ie8 and earlier.

Google Chrome is the most popular web browser and IE is dwindling down. Plus, ie9 has been around for 4 years now.

Should the user have to upgrade to a better browser (ie9 or better)?

Edit: Here are the browser statistics I got. Are they incorrect?

http://www.w3schools.com/browsers/browsers_stats.asp

Chrome - Accounts for 64.9% of all browsers

Firefox - Accounts for 21.5% of all browsers

IE - Accounts for only 7.1% of browsers

IE8 - Only accounts for 0.7% of all browsers

  • 3
    You should probably take this over to StackOverflow or some other tech-centric SE site. A limited answer: It depends on your user base. IE8 is dwindling, but there are still a significant number of users on older boxes avoiding Windows8 and sticking it out with IE8. IE7 and earlier is mostly gone. – plainclothes Jun 25 '15 at 17:40
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    You might want to recheck your sources on browser market share. – Evil Closet Monkey Jun 25 '15 at 17:42
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    This might simply boil down to a ROI question. Is it worth saving X dollars and annoy a percentage of your customer base. You should know what percent of your customers / users are still on IE8. – Mayo Jun 25 '15 at 17:55
  • I don't understand why IE8 is still so popular. How hard is to upgrade your browser? – CoolZebra Jun 25 '15 at 18:00
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    Not upgrading can be for multiple reasons. Many large companies have to go through an extensive vetting process for approving a new browser. Many government agencies do the same. Your experience on your personal computer is not the same as your user base. – Evil Closet Monkey Jun 25 '15 at 18:43
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Depends.

I face this decision almost every day. Sometimes is easier, sometimes is harder, but there are certain rules that can help.

Like Tohster says, demographics plays a big role, and as a matter of fact is the keyword in this decision.

However, I kind of disagree with the figures of that netmarketshare link. First, because they're nowhere close to anything I can see, and we closely monitor 100+ sites in all kind of niches and demographics. Then I realize the link is only about desktop, which means a HUGE difference

Also, there's an evolution in stats. Take this graph showing browser usage for last 12 months:

enter image description here

as you can see, IE8 accounts for 2.12% of browser usage.

Not a big deal, but at least something to consider.

However, this takes the period starting June 2014. In August 2014, Microsoft announced end of support for XP AND the end of support for IE8 on January 2016. Now take a look to IE8 usage last 3 months:

enter image description here

Interesting, huh? IE8 is virtually unused. And another thing you can test by yourself: IE8 users are used to see weird pages and they don't care at all, because they're aware of the obsolete system they're using and because most of them use another device as well (another desktop, mobile, tablet, etc)

Now, you can run happy knowing that IE8 is not needed at all, but this is not completely true. Take a look at last 3 months in US:

enter image description here

yep. 3.23% still using IE8. In a technologically advanced country

Now, you can think US is running under a technology involution, but reality is very different: US has the biggest amount of companies, universities (and even military forces) running Windows Server with IE8 apps, and this is not as easy as to change a browser. Right now there are thousands of companies in the process of doing this upgrade, so it will change in a few months.

In short:

NO to IE8 if...

....your audience target is worldwide and for a generic product/service, don't worry about IE8 (unless you have the time or will to do it).

YES to IE8 if...

...your audience includes big companies, corporations , education and/or military, then yes, try to work some solution for IE8.

And finally, the easiest, easiest, easiest advice to follow: track your audience and check what they're using!

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  • Thats very well said. – pzv Jun 26 '15 at 15:49
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Your source for browser market share is based on the visits to that web site alone and nothing else. It does not account for worldwide or country-wide usage. Do not base anything on their site stats alone.

Which browsers you support is based on who visits your web site and nothing else. I have several theatre web sites where the predominant visitor uses Chrome and, literally, NO visitors with ANY version of IE. But I also have a restaurant client that sits next to a huge financial institution. That client gets about 50% of their visitors using IE back to IE9.

But what if I have an old government site and everyone used IE8 and nothing else? Then it wouldn't make sense to test in Chrome, would it? So, like I said, it depends on your visitors and nothing else.

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5

If there is just one user on IE8 there is a need. That does not mean you should.

You need to evaluate the IE8 need of your user base. Is it 1 user or 10%. Is that 1 user critical?

If you don't support IE8 you are going to lose some users that either cannot or will not upgrade.

Is the cost of IE8 support worth the value in retaining those few users. More code is more manpower and more stuff that can go wrong.

The other factor is you may need to scale back a feature for IE8 compatibility. By scaling back you may lose some users on later browsers. OK you don't have to scale back but if you going to offer latest and greatest on newer browsers with downgraded implementation on earlier then your cost of compatibility goes up.

I know it is hard to quantify but compare cost to value.

In net unless there is a compelling reason to support IE8 then typically no.

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  • Is that one IE8 user the boss? I've run into that more than once... :) – DA01 Jun 26 '15 at 16:38
  • @DA01 Even at a feature level it gets tough. You can have an enhancement that benefits 98% but for 2% it is just perceived as an extra mouse click and that person is a decision maker. I have run into that more than once. – paparazzo Jun 26 '15 at 17:12
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    we call that the HIPPO (HIghest Paid Person with an Opinion) – DA01 Jun 26 '15 at 17:14
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Change is hard especially for large organizations

I worked at Microsoft almost a decade ago running Windows XP with gigabytes of RAM while the rest of the world was hanging on to much earlier versions of Windows including Windows NT because it did what they needed and required less resources. I found it interesting that 10 years after using the first version of Windows XP it was reported that the --

US Navy paid millions to stay on Windows XP

Communicate clearly what works

At the very least you need to communicate to your users what to expect. Users are generally understanding when you tell them why you have chosen to not support something and what their options are going forward.

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Probably yes, but it depends on your app objectives

Netmarketshare maintains a running survey of Web browser client market shares here:

Desktop browser market share

As of May 2015, IE8 still accounts for almost 15% of desktop browser clients so most developers would choose to support it for general apps.

Of course, this changes as you consider the likely demographics of users accessing your site via mobile, tablet and desktop.

Only you can make the right decision depending on your user demographics, but the right way to do it is the inform your decisions with share data.

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0

There is a need if

a) a significant percentage of your user base uses IE8

b) business is not OK with forcing these users to use a different browser

c) Business is OK with the cost overhead with code upkeep to support IE8

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