Very many of you have by now noticed the national and international campaign against Internet explorer 6. Several major sites (wired, the register, digg, slashdot) picked up the story, and the word spread at an amazing speed.
The interesting question is, does it have any effect? Pål Nedregotten, Channel Manager at API, which has 50 news papers with IE6 warning under their wings, posted some stats which he keeps updating with numbers for hour by hour and per hostname. The graphs show IE6 usage Friday 13th compared to Friday 20th of February.
From the updates we can see that there actually is a decrease in IE6 usage. (Red numbers are good) At the same time we know that there are winter holidays in Norway this week, and thus we will not know for sure before 1-2 weeks have passed.
It’s also important to remember that the impact of the campaign is not not likely to be visible from day one. As has been mentioned numerous places, the biggest job isn’t to make average Joe update his machine, but getting the big companies’ IT departments to update their machines. We can clearly see this with numbers from Budstikka.no, where I work. On a typical work day we see 23-25% with IE6, while on Saturdays and Sundays we see a drop down to 10% IE6 usage.
Big companies are of course reluctant to upgrade their machines. They have everything working right now, both intranet and internet. They have also applied all possible patches to IE6 to make it more secure, so security isn’t that much of an issue. Why would they want to upgrade?
The hope of this campaign is to make direct and indirect pressure on the IT departments to update their machine parks. By putting this banner out on all possible sites, users and IT departments will be constantly reminded that using an eight-year old browser is unacceptable, especially when you think about how much www has evolved.
Hopefully this will be the push most companies need, and that they will start planning to upgrade. This however requires testing and patching before it can be rolled out. I only hope that before the summer, the IE6 numbers will be so low that we can ignore IE6 completely.
I can also reveal that on budstikka I’ve been given green light for ignoring IE6 in our new design. The reason we can do this is that we will have the old design, which supports IE6, running too, and we can just forward IE6 users there automatically by doing some user agent sniffing.