I should point out; My personal view was that I should be proactive. I know sometimes I have to bite my tongue, and I wanted to get the communities input(was this one of those times).

I couldn't find a more appropriate place to ask it in the SO family of sites.

Here is the scenario --

  • small org < 70 employees
  • no qa department
  • website viewed by thousands everyday.
  • I am the sole website developer
  • I have never had a single complaint that the site is broken in IE6

  • I've discovered our site has not worked in IE6 for years. The person I replaced who created it must have been "testing" it only on IE7. I fired up Virtual PC and with IE6, and our site is a complete mess. You can not select some menu items they are so garbled. It looks terrible.

So again, Is it our job to proactively seek out bugs, or do we just fix what the customer requests....

Personally, I want to leverage this opportunity with my org to drop any expectation of IE6 support or compatibility.


11 Answers 11


Short answer, yes. A professional developer should be proactive.

Long answer, it depends. Do you have any analytics set up on your site(s)? If so, you can use the browswer reports to see what percentage of your traffic is IE6 and use that to determine if the ROI is worth your (or the business's) time.

  • 1
    Though ie6 usage if some exists is probably not entirely representative of the potential user market. If I goto a site in my browser and it doesn't work I doubt I will come back for more breakage. Maybe I would check in a few months but I would not frequent the site. Good short answer though, I agree entirely. – Chris Jan 27 '11 at 19:21
  • 3
    "If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?" – Mr. Ant Jan 27 '11 at 19:24
  • @Ant: Couldn't agree more. How philisophical. – MVCylon Jan 27 '11 at 19:43
  • +1 @ant If you have any more of those quotes, you should definitely collate them together in a book. "Zen and the art of project management" perhaps? ;o) – TimS Jan 27 '11 at 20:19
  • set up Google analytics. Our sys admin team was providing analytics using webtrends 7.0 LOL! (Netscape Navigator was #2 most used browser last week according to them, IE 2.0LAST WEEK also made the list, no firefox or safari even listed ROFL!). – MVCylon Feb 1 '11 at 19:27

I would report the issue you have discovered. Since you also want to drop the expectation of IE 6 support, I would also include the following in your report:

  • statistics on the number of people who visit your site under IE 6
  • the fact that no one has reported the issue
  • the cost of continuing to support the site in IE 6 in terms of development hours
  • 3
    +1: "the fact that no one has reported the issue". If no one reported it, then the cost of the bug is essentially zero. So any money spent on a "fix" is wasted. – S.Lott Jan 27 '11 at 19:43
  • 3
    if people using IE6 cannot use the site, how are they to report the problem? most users assume it is their fault, and go somewhere else... – Steven A. Lowe Jan 27 '11 at 22:38

Yes yes a thousand times YES!!!

Nothing wrong with that at all!

I'd have a look at at the logs to see the percentages of people hitting the site with IE6. presumably they then don't do anything and you can start to calculate how this may be affecting your company (eg. Lost sales, lost ad clicks etc).

It'll make you look pretty good to have found an issue like this.

That being said something is missing in your business process that they haven't identified the browsers they want to target, and even then they made need IT's guidance on that.

  • Bonus points definitely given for being prepared with visitor browser statistics (+1 when my votes reset tomorrow) – Nicole Jan 27 '11 at 19:15

If you haven't reported it yet, how do you know they don't care? Without your input, how would they even know that they should care?

Absolutely report on any issues you find in the company, system-wise or otherwise (of course, consider how you have to approach issues politically).

You are part of a team, and in a small company like yours, you are likely a key member of the team. If you see an issue that no one else has seen, it is your professional responsibility to be proactive and bring it to their attention, and let management decide how to prioritize it (with your expertise input, of course).

With a company your size, everyone can be impacted, including yourself and your job. Even if you were in a larger company, several departments could be impacted, so you should still be proactive and report it.


Yes, you should bring it up, and have a discussion about the best approach to take for business. If it doesn't matter, use it as an opportunity to document which browsers are supported. If it does matter, well, fix it.

The best way to figure out whether it is your duty to bring it up or not: would you be embarrassed, or even reprimanded, if somebody else found out and brought it up first?


Yes you should report it to someone. Since no one seems to care, you can make it a low-priority issue and then kill it if management says "we're not going to support IE6 since no one is complaining anyway", but you definitely should report it. That way there is some record and trail of the problem being found, discussed, and resolved (in this case by probably not doing anything, but the same principle applies elsewhere).


That's quite obvious any employee of a company should report problems he encounter to the appropriate person.

Now in an ideal world, all employees should adopt kaizen attitude and suggest improvements in the company processes.


You say none of your customers have reported an issue with IE6, but this is likely because your site doesn't work and they're scared away by that. Check your site statistics and see if anyone visits the site on IE6. You could think of IE6 users on your site as lost customers.

  • +1, its hard to report a problem if you cant see the 'report problem' link! – GrandmasterB Jan 27 '11 at 19:36
  • @GrandmasterB: You must have been to our site. Mgmt has gone with the approach, do not put a link for reporting technical problems. LOL. – MVCylon Jan 27 '11 at 19:45

Yes! report it and by reporting it we programmers can justify a new project for catching unreported or unattended issues.

Busy is good :)


Yes, definately mention it. I'd recommend the following steps:

  1. Investigate the cause. Is it a javascript library? Unsupported HTML? etc.
  2. Develop one or more possible solutions, along with a general estimation of how long they will take and their intrusiveness into the existing code base.
  3. Either fix it outright (if you have the freedom to do so), or report your findings and the available resolution options to your supervisor(s) for them to make a decision.

In General, report it. In this special case, add the proposal that a IE6 upgrade hint script should be added to the site. There are a bunch out there for free, including other outdated browsers as well. IE6 was already far outdated in 2011, it is even more in 2013.

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