A frighteningly large number of people still use Internet Explorer 6. Let me come right out and admit it: I’ve never been Microsoft’s biggest fan. I wait with bated breath to see Apple’s latest gadgets. I’m first in line to “ooh” and “aah” over Google’s latest and greatest, too. Microsoft’s products? Count me generally unimpressed. But my distaste for IE 6 is for some simple, unbiased reasons. If you find yourself clicking that ancient blue “E” to browse the Internet, take five to read three reasons why you should be using something like Firefox, Chrome, or Opera (or IE 8, if you must) instead.
One: It’s Broken
On the web, a language called CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) is used to design web pages. Just as the English language is standardized so that we can understand each another, so, too, is CSS standardized so that web browsers can understand how to display pages as their designers intended. The problem is that Internet Explorer 6 is the web equivalent of a semi-illiterate cave dweller who ignores the rules half the time and invents his own the other half of the time. Pages either don’t look right, can’t be designed to be as interesting and creative as they could be without IE 6’s problems, or have to be created with “tricks” to make IE 6 render them properly. All of this costs extra time and money, and stifles web innovation. If you wouldn’t trust a simpleton to read you a book, you shouldn’t trust IE 6 to display the Internet.
Two: It’s Dangerous
We do a lot of things with the Internet that require some trust. We buy things with credit cards, click on links without knowing exactly where they lead, and log in to our banks to check our accounts. If using Firefox, Chrome, Opera, and other modern browsers is like driving a car with airbags, seat belts, and body armor, then using IE 6 is like riding in a car with no windshield, a loose door, and a blindfolded driver. This ancient browser just doesn’t have the technology under the hood to keep your information secure and your computer safe if you get into the equivalent of an Internet car accident.
Three: It’s Old
I know what you’re thinking. A lot of old things are great. Everyone loves their grandparents. Most of the finest cheeses and wines are aged. Pyramids, ancient statues, and famous paintings are all great, old things. Computer technology does not, however, get better with age. By holding yourself back with this dinosaur of a browser, you’re missing out on a world of technological inventions. Firefox’s extensions let you turn your “pocket knife”-style browser into a full-fledged chainsaw, for example. Chrome’s combined search/navigation bar makes searching Google never more than one click away. HTML 5, the next generation of the language that powers the Internet, will bring a huge number of advancements, none of which IE 6 will support. Simply put, if IE 6 was a loaf of bread, it would be aged to the point of severe molding. It’s time to throw it out and upgrade your whole Internet experience.