That depends… We all know IE8 is getting on a bit, the little charm it had has well and truly worn off. That said there are still people out there using IE8 without a care in the world. I do not agree with these people. In a perfect world they would not exist. But this is not a perfect world I am not god so that begs the question. Should my website support IE8?

If you are a business owner or even a budding web developer you will want a website that is user-friendly. This means that your site needs to work perfectly in all of the browsers and devices that are used by your target audience.

The demise of IE 6 & 7

We have already said goodbye to IE6 (for good reason) and IE7 is now used by only 0.3% of the world. So it’s safe to say that we no longer need to support IE7 either. But what about IE8? The way IE8 renders modern websites and coding practices is “broken” by today’s standards. This means that extra measures have to be taken to ensure that the website is usable in IE8 as well as modern browsers. This may even mean removing functionality or features from your site to make sure it is compatible.

How do I make the decision?

The key contributing factor to whether or not you should support IE8 is if you know your target audience has a high percentage of IE8 users. The easiest way to check this is to use Google Analytics. This obviously requires that you have already installed analytics on your site and have been collecting data for at least a month or two. If you are building a new site and don’t have analytics on your current site, get it installed now! It’s free and can give you a wealth of information about your users. If you do not currently have a website and this is a new venture for you or your company there are various online stats counters to give you an idea of how many people use the browser in your country. StatCounter is a good source of information, allowing you to view browser stats per region.

As an example, below is their browser usage stats for 2014 so far.

2014-ie8-stats

As you can see IE8 currently has a 4.42% market share in the UK. However it is always important to check your own analytics if available. Different industries and topics will have different results. We are obviously in the tech industry so you would expect users to be using newer browsers. Our analytics show that so far in 2014 only 2.34% of users are using IE8 to view our site.

Summary

Ensuring a good user experience on your site is such an important factor that you shouldn’t really be considering dropping IE8 support unless your figure drops below 1%. Frustrated users will not stick around to purchase your products or services.

How to check what browsers your website visitors use

1. Log in to Google Analytics at www.google.com/analytics

2. Click on the domain for the website you wish to view (i.e., www.yourdomain.com)

domain

3. In the left menu click on Audience, then Technology, then Browser & OS.

menu

4. This will list the most used browsers. Click on internet explorer to reveal the version data.

browsers

The percentages shown beside each version is a percentage of all IE users, not of all users in total.

IE8

To work out the total percentage out you will need to do some quick maths. Divide 100 by the total number of sessions for all browsers, in our case 40,662. This will give you the percentage of each individual session. You can then multiply this by the number of IE8 users to get the percentage.