Why I am not supporting IE8

…at least mostly not

Any web designer will tell you developing for IE in almost any version is just a real big pain in the neck. None of us like to do it, that’s a given.
Versions 9 and 10 are much better than the older versions, but they still aren’t where they need to be. Anything less than 9 though makes us curse worse than a sailor, we get so frustrated we are pulling our hair out and biting our nails. The thing is though, anything less than 9 is old! Consider this, IE 8 will be 4 years old in March 2013, by IT standards this is old, by web standards this is ancient.

When I finally got around to start developing this site, I originally thought I would support IE8 all the way. I use IE8 at my 8 to 5 job, so of course, I wanted to be able to see my site render there. Then I started looking at how I was going to make my site responsive, which I had never done before. This led me to ask some hard questions.

  • How am I going to make my site responsive in IE8?
  • If I design for IE8, how am I going to make media queries work in IE8?
  • How many mobile devices actually use IE8?
  • How much of today’s Internet traffic comes from IE8?
  • Where does the IE8 traffic come from?

I started with the mobile question. “How many mobile devices actually use IE8?”, the answer was none. Hmmm… well then, why do I need to make my site mobile ready in IE8? The answer is I don’t.

This lead me to wonder about using responsive design on IE8 at all. After all responsive design was originally intended to make the design process easier for all screen sizes because of the mobile market. If all my IE8 users are on a desktop, then I don’t need to worry about media queries and responsive web design. After all, these users are all on a desktop right? Well there is the whole screen full size versus minimized problem.

What if my IE8 users don’t view the website in a full screen mode? Well this could be an issue. But seriously, how many users will I have that use IE8 in the first place? And where are these IE8 users from? For those answers I turned to Stat Counter. This is a very handy tool; there are several out there including one on W3schools. I like stat counter because I can change countries and versions of browsers but, I do use several just to get a more accurate picture of real usage. What did I find out? Well as you can see from the images below, most IE8 users are in China! Well heck, I don’t care if someone in China views my site, not really. I know in my field I can work remotely, but truly, I am more of an American web designer and my work is almost always going to be in America. So do I really care how people in China view my site? The answer was no.

World Wide IE8 only has about 13% of the market.
World Wide IE8 only has about 13% of the market.
In the U.S. only 13% of users use IE8
In the U.S. only 13% of users use IE8
Of all the continents, countries I checked China was the single biggest user of IE8 with an almost whopping 50% of the market share.
Of all the continents, countries I checked China was the single biggest user of IE8 with an almost whopping 50% of the market share.

In the end I decided to support IE8 in a full desktop version only. There really wasn’t a need for me to do more than that. Yes there is still 13% of Americans using IE8, but I am willing to lose any business I may have gotten just to save myself a little sanity. Some designers will disagree with me and that’s fine. Everyone should design for his or her project needs. So IF, I should get a design project that requires I do responsive design for IE8 then I will have to find a way to do that, but for this project I choose not to. But seriously folks, spend some money on newer systems and update your browsers please!!

P.S. In case you’re wondering, this site renders well in IE8 on a minimum screen size of 1024. Any screen size smaller than that and things will get a bit wonky.

For further information on this subject please see the articles below:

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