CSS Link Hover Issue in Internet Explorer 7 & 8

I came across a really strange issue yesterday whilst testing a site build in Internet Explorer 6, 7 and 8. For some reason, my anchor link text was not accepting a hover state colour change even though I set the required styles within my style sheet. All other browser accepted the hover styling without any issue.

I decided to create another site in Visual Studio and added the same styling to my links and it worked. After comparing the difference between the original and new style sheet, the only difference was:

/* Original Stylesheet */
body
{
    font-family: Arial;
}

 

/* New Stylesheet */
body
{
    font-family: Arial, sans-serif;
}

 

By simply adding “sans-serif” to the font family allowed the hover styles to work correctly in all browsers. I have no idea why making this change resolved my issue.

Handling Unsupported Internet Explorer 6 Users

Web browsers have come a long way since the days of Internet Explorer 6 release back in 2001. You would think 9 years on we would have all dumped this piece of software in the garbage heap by now. Alas, we still have users to this very date who still use IE6 either due to personal preference or by force (company IT policies).

As everyone knows, developing a site to be compliant with main stream browsers in addition to carrying out additional fixes to fit in with the slim 6.7% of global users can be a real pain. So instead of trying to fit your site around the small number of IE6 users, why not just knock some common sense into them and notify them to upgrade.

Thankfully, there is a really easy and polite way to do this. Go to http://code.google.com/p/ie6-upgrade-warning/ and download the JavaScript file and embed the following code to your webpage…

<!--[if lte IE 6]>
    <script src="js/ie6/warning.js"></script>
    <script>window.onload=function(){e("js/ie6/")}</script>
<![endif]-->

…which outputs the following result:

IE6 Upgrade Warning

As great as this idea is I don’t see many web developers or web agencies implementing this on the sites they create unless really needed. Nevertheless, its step in the right direction to hopefully put a final nail into that IE6 coffin!

Will IE6 Ever Allows Us To Use CSS3?

Will IE6 Ever Allows Us To Use CSS3 We have been using Cascading Style Sheets for many years now and it has been a god send to help break us away from table based layouts and create an aesthetically pleasing site. I was quite surprised to find out that the CSS 2.1 standard has been around for 11 years. We have moved on considerably over this duration of time and even though some recent browsers are adopting CSS3 already, why do we continue to use CSS2.1?

The only answer to this question I can think of is due to the continued use of legacy browsers such as IE6. If we look at the current browser trends (below), the amount of IE6 users have decreased over the year from 18.5% to 14.4%. So this is a decrease by around 4%, which is good but not great. 

2009IE7IE6IE8FirefoxChromeSafariOpera
July15.9%14.4%9.1%47.9%6.5%3.3%2.1%
June18.7%14.9%7.1%47.3%6.0%3.1%2.1%
May21.3%14.5%5.2%47.7%5.5%3.0%2.2%
April23.2%15.4%3.5%47.1%4.9%3.0%2.2%
March24.9%17.0%1.4%46.5%4.2%3.1%2.3%
February25.4%17.4%0.8%46.4%4.0%3.0%2.2%
January25.7%18.5%0.6%45.5%3.9%3.0%2.3%
        
(www.w3schools.com)

Looking back at all the sites I have created over the year, I still find myself applying workarounds to give IE6 and current browsers the same viewing experience. So 14.4% of IE6 users still has a major impact on general web design.

Generally, companies are probably to blame for the continued use of IE6. Big companies are sometimes slow to change and especially if using the web is not at the business core they don’t see any reason to move forward. In addition, they see IE6 as a more secure browser.

Can I see a final nail in the IE6 coffin sometime in the future? Unfortunately, No. Microsoft have extended their support for IE6 to 2014. So for now IE6 users still have 5 years to upgrade. Lets just hope Microsoft doesn’t make the same mistake and renew IE6 support for another 5 years after 2014!

We as users of the Internet need to move with the time. If we don’t, sites will continue to be restricted to the confines of yesteryear which is no good to anybody. Legacy browsers such as IE6 need to be phased out via end of life programmes and allow newer browsers to flourish.