Tutorial :Is it good practice to “force” users to update their browser? [closed]


I helped develop a website for a local non-profit. I have asked for feedback from people who have been using the site. I have encountered a problem with IE6, fixing that problem introduces other problems in IE6 to the point of introducing another CSS file just for IE6 fixes. I stumbled across a way that would essentially "force" users to update to a newer version. Is this good practice?

Edit: What the "update" does is display the IE yellow bar at the top that recommends the update, if the user clicks on it, the browser will start the update.


No. Keep in mind that quite a lot of users working, for example, in goverment organizations and such, do not have the choice over the software on their workstations.


I don't think it's ever good practice to "force" anything on users - even if you can - especially when it's something as central as IE.

Granted, it's generally sensible for users to upgrade from IE6, but they may have good reasons for staying on IE (e.g. they use a legacy app/site).

Unless your application is "mission-critical" for your users it's also unlikely they'd upgrade if your site recommends it. If you remember a few years back, a lot of sites had "Best viewed with..." link/icons - but people were rarely willing to upgrade their browser just to view a web-site more easily.


If you deploy within an intranet then this may be possible and an acceptable solution. Otherwise it's not very wise to block users out of your site depending on their browser version. Unless you don't care about loosing traffic/user base etc.


Unless you have specific requirements to support IE6, just forget about it. If it looks crappy or is unusable, that's the way it goes. If they complain, just say you don't support IE6. If enough people complain, you can consider updating your website to support it.

For those webmasters who see you're using IE6 (or any version of IE) and refuse to display the website at all, there's a term for this:


Its one thing to not support browsers, its another to be an asshole about it.


On the website I'm working on now, I have to load a different stylesheet for old versions of IE, but I built that capability in from the beginning. I point out to old IE user-agents using a friendly message on the main page of the site saying that the page doesn't look as good since they're using an old version with a link to the MS download page. The website also has a relatively small, fixed number of users (<500 unique per day).


Just make sure to recommend it to your users to upgrade browser and you can not fix all problems relating to them using outdated browsers.

Don't force it though.

Oh and any IT admins still locking their networks into IE6 need to learn just how broke it is...


No, it is not a good practice to "force" users...

Think about users in corporations where the desktops are "locked down" so the users are not allowed to install software.

If possible, it is best to have your website degrade nicely on older browsers so that the users at least see something reasonable, if not perfect.


No, it's not a good idea. Use a conditional comment system, if you must, to accommodate IE6, or, failing that, leave them a 'your browser is broken, sorry' message explaining why they should upgrade. But allowing them the choice. Force is never, or is at least very rarely, a good thing to use.


What I would do was to ensure that fundamental stuff worked on IE6 and then use conditional inclusion to display a notice to the user to the effect that their browser is to old to support the design of your site and that they might get a better experience with a newer browser. This can be done without having to completely destroy the user experience.


its not a good practice to force your users to upgrade their browsers especially if you have lot of users accessing the system from a corporate network. most of the big corporates have standardized desktops [os & all the softwares] across their network and they take their own sweet little time to upgrade the browsers across the network after doing their due diligence, several security, integration [with their existing softwares] testing, etc. .


I agree with most of the previous answers. Moreover, you should consider whether to suggest people upgrade to a browser other than IE.

One thing you could do is to split the CSS file and use server-side scripting (or maybe conditional comments) to choose which CSS to load. The 'basic' CSS, which would be loaded regardless of browser and render well in them all (or be not rendered at all, as the case may be), and the 'enhanced' CSS which would work on top of this and be loaded only in IE7+ and other modern browsers.


I think the site should still be functional in IE6, but I personally wouldn't bother with making it look good. Wonky CSS or transparent PNG with a blue background? Well, that's just too bad.

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