Can we sweep IE8 under the Carpet?

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In web designing circles, the mere mention of Internet Explorer 8 receives the standard response of  *loud tut, roll eyes*. Unknown to most of the internet using world, it is a slightly sticky and occasionally painful subject.

So what is the problem with IE8?

Well, in brief it is a headache for web developers as a lot of seemingly straight forward code doesn’t work in this version of Internet Explorer. Without the addition of IE8 specific code, websites can simply fail to do anything exciting. This comes as a bit of a step back when you want a website to look cutting edge.

For anyone who likes to keep up with technology, IE8 will seem like a distant memory and will probably assume that no one could possibly be using such an out-of-date browser. Well unfortunately (for us) they would be very wrong.

So who is still using it?

Two years ago Microsoft started a campaign to encourage people to drop IE6, with the launch of the ’IE6 Countdown’ on their website. A clearly frustrated web developer has recently created a clever parody: The Internet Explorer 8 countdown, which joking aside, makes shocking reading to see here that 10% of the world are still on the IE8 wagon.

So now the question is why is it still used? In short, the answer lies with Microsoft XP. According to Net Applications, despite being nearly 13 years, old Microsoft XP is still used by a whopping 30% of the world and guess the highest version of Internet Explorer available for XP users… yep… 8.

It would appear XP’s success has been a thorn in Microsoft’s side, we all know Vista was a total flop, but it also caused die hard XP users to dig in their heels and refuse to upgrade until sure they are getting their money’s worth. With the clear success of Windows 7, Microsoft have now had enough, and as of April 2014 are pulling the plug on XP by no longer offering support and security updates. (You may have heard a faint cheer from our offices when that was announced).

A Slow Demise

So you would think this is all great news for web developers as now Internet Explorer 8 will slowly cease to exist, however the emphasis is on ‘slowly’ – Microsoft still has 4.4% IE6 users after two years of campaigning. For the foreseeable future, we feel it is important to consider that up to 10% of your users may still be browsing on IE8, and it is worth checking whether your website is working correctly. Here at Aelite, the launch of our new website in January required a significant touch of jiggery pokery for IE8 users to view it and despite it not being top of our list of favourite jobs, we are proud to we offer IE8 support as part of any new website build or as an improvement to an existing website. We promise not to tut or roll our eyes if you ask us about it.

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