On Tuesday, January 12th, Microsoft ended support for versions 8, 9 and 10 Internet Explorer for desktops. This means that IE11 is the only version of Internet Explorer with ongoing support.

As a website or app owner or operator, you may be wondering, “What does this mean for me?”

The browsers your visitors use will change.

Currently IE8, 9, and 10 users are reported to be anywhere from 7% to 19% of all web traffic. 

The end of support for these browsers likely means users who have avoided upgrading will finally be forced to upgrade. If a large percentage of your site traffic comes from these browsers, you will need to know how your site looks and works in IE 11, the browser they’ll likely start using soon. You’ll want to make sure that when these users upgrade, their experience will be just as good as it was before.

As an Owner and User, You May Have to Update Your Technology.

For site owners, our current recommendation is to support the latest versions of the most common web browsers on your site: Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, and the new Microsoft Edge browser. This could be a small or large change, depending on when and how you built your technology. 

As a web user, if you’re still using one of the browsers which is no longer supported, we recommend upgrading to a newer browser. At Clockwork we primarily use Firefox, Safari, and Chrome. Each of these is updated regularly to improve speed, security, and add new features. We are also excited by the improvements to Microsoft’s browsers. If you are running Windows, upgrading to IE11 or Micrsoft Edge is a great option.

Your Site will be Easier to Support.

While the headline oversimplifies things a bit, the big takeaway is that supporting outdated IE browsers put constraints on the types of interactive experiences we, as Developers and Designers, could create. By only supporting more up-to-date browsers, Web Developers can take advantage of current web standards, new technologies, and faster rendering of web pages to provide more interactive experiences. Ultimately, the big win for you is that it’s cheaper to not support older systems. It lowers the cost of Quality Assurance testing for the websites we create. It reduces maintenance costs, and, with appropriate planning, it can reduce the initial cost to develop web sites and web applications.

Upgrading your own technology and the browsers you use will improve your experience in many ways. It will likely be faster. The sites you visit should look as intended, and you may even get new functionality that makes your life easier. Not upgrading means that eventually a lot of the sites you visit may no longer work the way you expect, and your site may no longer work for your visitors. As web developers and their clients begin dropping support for older browsers, they won’t be testing on those browsers. 

Perhaps the most important reason of all to update: IE 8, 9, and 10 will no longer get security updates. That means that when new security flaws are discovered, Microsoft will not release fixes. This leaves you a target for people with malicious intent. If you want a lengthier explanation of how these changes impact you as an IE user, check out this article