Recently I've been looking at some new sites made by various designers and developers and I've begun to notice a trend. The obvious use of CSS3 and HTML5 has risen dramatically since the beginning of the year. This makes me wonder, is it because people have finally stopped caring so much about IE6 looking visually identical as all the other browsers?
I'd certainly like to think so!
One recent incident regarding this comes from the sites I've been working on at work. I've been making plenty of small style changes to various sites and building a new one from scratch. That's me in my element! But the thing that shocked me was that a lot of the use of CSS3 in the sites was not shot down. Especially when I pointed out that it still looked fine in Internet Explorer, things were just a little more 'blocky', and 'plain' (mainly through use of border-radius and box-shadow).
This was not immediately shot down as an issue as I expected but people actually accepted that things didn't look the same, but the functionality remained intact.
I've found myself doing exactly the same thing, too. I've not actually tested a site I've worked on in IE6 for a few months now. Not because I don't care about it, but more because I know what will and won't work in IE6 (mostly), and the enhancements I like to add do not favour that browser vendor (but neither do they detract from the users ability to actually use the site!).
What I have also noticed recently is the abundance of article/blogs/news regarding the latest in CSS3/HTML5 capabilites, which strengthens the argument for using it whilst maintaining a 'progressive enhancement' attitude to the methods used.
And this is certainly not a bad thing! It's a great and (hopefully) unobtrusive way to open none-web-compliant users to the features and enhancements that they would be missing had they not decided to update their browsers. It's that little nudge in the right direction that is seeing people turn from Internet Explorer in order to gain that richer browsing experience.
This obviously may not be the only reason that IE figures are still in decline (in the Internet share of browser usage). However, when I look at the statistics for the larger commercial sites I work on and see that Firefox (and Chrome) usage is growing, whilst Internet Explorer usage is falling (down more than 10% on last year!) I can't help but smile a little bit in the knowledge that things are finally starting to go our way. And what with Internet Explorer 9 set to be a revolutionary up-to-date browser (we shall see), are things finally starting to progress to the stages we all hope they did years ago?
I'd still point out that it is a slow process, and will continue to be. And I obviously feel for those designers/developers that HAVE to "make it look the same in IE6!". But I do feel that things are taking a turn for the better and the Internet is turning into a more functional and easy-to-use/easy-to-style place.
Why not have your say? I'd quite like some feedback on this point. Do you still meticulously insist that your sites look exactly the same in all browsers? Do your clients insist on this? If they do, have you managed to convince them that this isn't the best course of action for either party?