Universal Internet Explorer 6 CSS revisited

  • Words: Andy Clarke

It’s been almost three years since I launched, what most people thought of as the bat-shit crazy Universal Internet Explorer 6 CSS stylesheet.

At the time (May 2009) handling Internet Explorer 6 was still an issue for most people. It swallowed up hours if not days of wasted development per project and I could only see diminishing returns in supporting it with a full layout and design.

To sidestep the problem completely, I wrote a typography only stylesheet, hosted it on Google Code and served it on all my client’s websites.

Some people, like Zeldman liked the idea. Others, like Kyle Weems were more cautious:

You’re a mad, beautiful genius. I’d use that in a heartbeat. Now if only I could get the bosses and the clients to sign off on that.

Others missed the point completely:

What if your content is not text?  What if you’re an artist and want to show off your work in a way that grabs the attention of the viewer

There’s no pleasing some people.

Oh well. I wrote using the Universal Internet Explorer 6 stylesheet into my contract. Nobody questioned it and nobody ever complained. I win.

Fast forward to today and Internet Explorer 6 shouldn’t be a problem for anybody and if you’re designing sites content/mobile first, your foundation stylesheet can be served to Internet Explorer 6 in just the same way as the Universal Internet Explorer 6 stylesheet. Serve Internet Explorer 6 colour, typography and texture — the three things I call design ‘atmosphere’ — but not layout. It’s how I handle almost every project these days.

Universal Internet Explorer 6 CSS might not be as relevant now, but that’s not to say I think it’s lost all merit. I’ve moved it to Github so it can continue to evolve.

Take good care of it. It’s been a good friend.

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