IE7 Tax is a Fair Price to Pay
In a bold move designed to draw attention to the continuing use
of outdated web browsing software, the team at Kogan have
implemented what is believed to be the world's first tax on
Internet Explorer 7 users. In short, visitors to their site who use
Microsoft's Internet Explorer 7 browser have a surcharge of 6.8%
added to the total price of their orders on account of the cost and
time required to make the site function correctly on that
There are many reasons why this is a positive initiative for a
web development industry that has hitherto been required to devote
significant time and resources to supporting a browser used by a
tiny fraction of visitors, but which has not yet been officially
retired by Microsoft.
At Paligap we have noticed that Internet Explorer 7 is a browser
that refuses to die. From a high in 2009 when it was the browser of
choice for 25% of all traffic to the site, Internet Explorer 7
dropped to 10% in 2010 and just 7% last year. So far in 2012 just
3.4% of traffic to our site comes from users who use Internet
Explorer 7 as their internet browser of choice, a small group who
appear determined to resist the arrival of new alternatives.
The trend was similar across each of our client sites, with
virtually all sites showing Internet Explorer 7 users representing
between 3-5% of all traffic received, regardless of any particular
site's niche, type or the volume of traffic involved.
Despite these dwindling figures, Internet Explorer 7 usage
continues at a level just too high to be ignored and sites produced
today are still being adapted to function adequately on that
antiquated platform. The Paligap web design team spend
a notable portion of time on any moderately complex new-build
project adapting the design and site to work with Internet Explorer
7, time that could be better spent working on other tasks that
would be of benefit to a far greater proportion of the eventual
users. The Paligap home page itself
required work dedicated solely to producing CSS rules for Internet
Six years after release there is really no excuse for any
individual or company to have not upgraded their browser. There are
two subsequent iterations of Internet Explorer available, with a
third on its way this year, not to mention alternatives like Opera,
Firefox, Safari and Chrome which do not provide equivalent anguish
to developers or users.
This is not simply a rejection of something that causes extra
work. Our developers are innovative and forward-thinking by nature.
Forcing them to spend time on modifying their work to appear
adequately on an antiquated browser is not only a waste of our
client's budget, but also a waste of our team's talents. 'Adequate'
is not a term that sits easily with any one of them. With all new
sites being designed and built at Paligap being crafted in HTML5
and using CSS3, our eyes are trained firmly on the future, ensuring
sites will not quickly become outdated or obsolete. Combining this
drive to meet modern standards with the need to make all sites
comply with Internet Explorer 7's peculiarities - as we do for all
sites at present - is undeniably an inefficiency that needs to be
Kogan's initiative may be extreme, but the goal of motivating
internet users to switch to more contemporary browsers is laudable.
Let's hope the demise of Internet Explorer 7 is less protracted
that its predecessor, Internet Explorer 6, which took over ten
years to diminish to a level where the majority of developers were
comfortable building sites that were not configured for its
peculiar quirks and requirements.