Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 8 (IE 8) was first introduced in March of 2009 and initially represented a major step forward in browser design. But now, nearly five years later, it’s showing its age. Loathed by Web designers and Web application developers alike, IE 8 doesn’t support many modern features of CSS3 and HTML5, and designing for it means investing in countless workarounds and developing special code specific to just that browser. In fact, supporting it in websites and Web applications has become so complex that industry leaders like Google decided years ago that they wouldn’t support it in many of their Web apps.
It might be tempting to dismiss Google’s eagerness to stop supporting IE 8 as the natural position of a competing vendor. After all, Google develops the Chrome Web browser, and would naturally push consumers towards it. While convenient, such observations ignore the fact that even Microsoft won’t support IE 8 in its flagship Office 365 product.
Yes. You read that correctly. Even Microsoft won’t support IE 8 in some of its new products.
Google, Microsoft…and Now, Geonetric
Pursuant to our browser support guidelines, Geonetric no longer includes testing and support for IE 8 as part of the standard design process for public websites.
So where does that leave you and your website?
While IE 8 is a legacy browser that most informed consumers are moving off of, we understand that you may have unique pressures and constraints that require you to continue supporting it on your public website. If that’s the case, you have options:
- First off, understand that if your public website currently renders correctly in IE 8, this blog post will not change that. Your website will continue to render correctly in IE 8 and will do so until you start investing in redesigns, etc.
- If you’re anticipating a redesign in the coming months and it’s important for you to support IE 8, please discuss with your client advisor as soon as possible. While we don’t design for and test in IE 8 as part of our standard development process, we can certainly accommodate this as custom development with additional service hours. Knowing your intentions before starting work on a redesign allows us to minimize the amount of custom work required to support IE 8.
A Temporary Reprieve for Administrators
Because many hospitals and healthcare organizations have mandates from their IT departments to use specific versions of Internet Explorer, we’re not yet announcing any changes to our browser support policy for VitalSite’s administration interface. However, we are starting discussions with many clients to understand their IT departments’ plans to migrate away from IE 8 to modern versions.
Stay Tuned! More Communications are Coming
As we continue to review our public browser support policy and our ongoing research into browser support for VitalSite’s administration interface, we’ll be providing additional communications via Newton and your client advisors. If you have questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us at your convenience.