Downgrading Web Page Layouts for IE6

Lately, I have found that it is easier to allow a page to display differently in IE 6 than it is to make that page display the same way in IE6 as it does in other browsers. Think about it. Let’s say you have 4 browsers. Your page looks the same in 3 of the browsers, but in one of the browsers, it doesn’t quite look like it should. You could choose to spend extra time to find a work around to make it display the same across all 4 browsers. You could even go so far as changing the layout of your page. Or you could simply allow it to display differently in that one browser, and move on to the next project.

If someone has a problem with it, the solution is simple. Upgrade. Or change browsers. It makes sense, and it pisses me off I didn’t start doing it sooner.

Now before people go and get all upset, I am not advocating designing your site to purposely look bad or crappy in IE6, just different. For example, say you have a div with a transparent PNG as a background. IE6 lacks support for transparent PNGs, thus requires a work around hack to display a transparent PNG as a background. You could implement the work around hack. Or you could just set the background as a solid color in an IE6 only stylesheet using conditional comments. The solid color background won’t look as good as the transparent PNG, but it works fine. Someone using a browser that supports transparent PNGs will have a better experience, but it still works.

Finally, I know that we all have clients, and our clients drive most, if not all, of the work that we do. If a client wants it to look a certain way in a certain browser, then sometimes that’s just the way it is. But I bet if you tried reasoning with your client using the above argument, you just might persuade them to see things your way.

Update: I forgot to add that making things display differently in IE usually requires the use of an IE only stylesheet with conditional comments.