Well we are there again. Tons of features you’re dying to use but a certain platform, the one your client insists you absolutely HAVE to support (“the CEO is using IE11, so..”), does not support them. I have been playing this game since IE6 first got the heat and history is repeating itself in a strange fashion with the stuff coming from Redmond.
But this time I’m not gonna fall in line. It’s utterly pointless, frustrating and man, I sure don’t think those 6-7% of users will decide wether or not a brand, product or web app will make it. Only the greedy and short sighted do.
I can in fact tell you who those IE11 users are that are almost methodically refusing to change their browser. It’s corporate users, stuck on old machines. Their IT departments haven’t upgraded their workstations (sometimes even some dusty old windows server box) or they use these boxes somewhere in a closet to run legacy software. I dare you to show me one actual IE11 User with e-commerce affinity. Those poor souls who are actually private computers stuck on IE11 for some reason make up an estimated 1%. Yeah I just pulled this number out of my ass but it’s more accurate than you probably think.. and don’t make the romantic mistake of calculating those 1% for a potential 5 billion users. You dreamer, you.
While 7 or 8 years ago I was mostly worried about CSS, you can now add ES6 to the mix. I love writing front end apps in JS but the size of all the polyfills and workarounds (for features that simply can’t be polyfilled, like Proxys) is staggering. Especially if you consider that a polyfill is also a performance metric and old windows machines aren’t exactly known for that nowadays. So it gets even worse.
I’m really sorry but it’s way more honest and a matter of integrity to call it a day with IE and stop serving content for it, unless it doesn’t require tweaks.
The longer we support these browsers by spending millions as a whole industry to make up for poor product decisions by Microsoft, the longer they will stay alive (or.. on life support). It’s a lost case. Let IE die already. It had its moments. But it’s over now.
Or let’s put it in terms a manager deals with: those 20% additional costs (its lower for run-of-the-mill frameworks) for a project will not be compensated by the additional 7-8% of users that are only potentially ever going to use a service (means, on paper). Never. You are losing money there. And the sanity of anyone having to work on that project. It will bloat the code, the css, will make features possibly harder to implement cleanly the more complex it gets.
And if you’re still dead serious about supporting old crappy browsers, create a brutalist version of your website for them, redirect them and call it a day. I predict that it won’t make a difference that you will even notice. You probably lose more customers due to bad customer support than not supporting a 10 year old browser.