Earlier this month, Microsoft officially withdrew technical support for IE 8, 9 and 10 – meaning that users will no longer receive updates or security patches. Many users have been left confused by the announcement – assuming that Microsoft would simply ‘switch off’ older versions of the browser.
Site owners may also have been surprised when checking their analytics to discover that users are still visiting via IE.
According to caniuse.com, the most up-to-date stats for the browsers Microsoft is disowning are: IE10, 0.87% global usage; IE9, 0.91% global usage; IE8, 1.18% global usage and IE7, 0.05% global usage. Surprisingly, that credits IE8 with more users than the two subsequent versions.
In 2015, Windows XP usage was estimated to be around 16.94%; more than Windows Vista (1.97%), Windows 8 (3.52%), and Windows 8.1 (10.55%) combined. At launch, Windows XP shipped with IE6, and can be upgraded as far as IE8, but no further. For the casual user, a browser is relatively simple to upgrade, but an operating system is not; especially when an upgrade requires the purchase of new hardware.
The best advice to follow? The only analytics that truly matter are your own. If visits from IE8 begin to dwindle, then you can assume that many of your users are aware of the changes and have upgraded accordingly.
However, contemporary web standards encourage us all to develop sites that are stress-tested below the accepted 1% usage cut-off point. The web may look a little wonky at times on older versions of IE, but content should still be accessible to all.