Today, it looks like YouTube may be the next.
What’s interesting is the data behind Digg’s decision and their approach. Check out the post by Mark Trammell, Digg’s User Experience Architect. They’re only removing features under-utilized by IE6 users, mainly those that require a login, e.g. diggs, buries, comments.
IE6 accounts for a mere 1% of the browsers used for each of those activities.
IE6 users will still be able to view Digg and browse it. This approach makes more sense to them than the standard method (like we’ve taken with Connect) which shows a message to all IE6 users, pleading with them to upgrade and join the now.
Or at least the World of 2006, when IE7 was released.
What I found interesting were the usage patterns of IE6 users, which Digg collected via survey. Granted, the sample size was tiny, only 1,571 respondents. Mark’s post says 10% of Digg’s visitors (39 million in June according to Compete) use IE6. So, this is a fraction of the possible sample.
Still, the responses were telling. The vast majority of people have to use IE6 at work and most cannot upgrade or switch due to policies at their work.Here’s the breakdown of where people use which browsers:
Here’s the breakdown of why people use IE6:
Mark concludes dryly:
Giving them a message saying, “Hey! Upgrade!” in this case is not only pointless; it’s sadistic.
My guess is this coincides nicely with a lot of IE6 usage for consumer sites like Digg. Maybe not at the same percentage levels, e.g. a site like Facebook or Twitter would probably show a higher percentage of home IE6 users, but the trend probably holds.
For a long time, our Connect users have been in a similar boat. While they are free to install whichever browser they like and upgrade to newer versions of IE, only certain browsers are officially supported by IT, meaning if it breaks, don’t call us.
Frequently, corporate IT often dictates IE6 because internal web apps used for day-to-day operations were built for it years ago, and no one has invested in modernizing these apps, making them inoperable on modern browsers. Sure, installing another browser allows the user to enjoy the modern web, but upgrading IE6 has no easy downgrade, leaving corporate IT with a headache.
So, it’s easier to mandate single browser, rather than supporting additional ones.
Even though it’s a bummer for teams like ours that have built web apps that use modern web standards and capabilities, the cost to IT of upgrading internal web apps that work just fine in IE6 outweighs the benefit of modern browsers.
And let’s be honest. Being unable to complete your job functions in an app built for IE6 is a much bigger problem than having a crappy experience using the corporate social network on IE6.
All this contributes to the fact that being in corporate IT is tougher than ever.
On the one hand, you want to realize the investment made in older web apps, avoid disturbing daily operations to upgrade them for modern browsers, and minimize the possible O/S+browser configurations you must support
On the other hand, your users are increasingly empowered by New Web adoption, which is already happening edge-in, and you probably want to move to standards-based web apps.
Plus, consumer web moves really, really fast, making your infrastructure feel increasingly out-dated.
Oh, and don’t forget the inertia of your users and their resistance to change.
I’m so glad I got out of IT so many years ago.
Your thoughts -> comments.