I'm currently in the final testing stages of launching the release version of my website. Over the past couple days, I've been testing the entire site on IE7 as it's a browser I would like to be able to support, though it's not one I run myself. It's becoming increasingly clear that the level of effort required to fully support this browser will be quite high. It will probably be at least another week of full time work before I can have the major issues worked out. First off, the browser itself is slow and unstable. A lot of the bugs I run across are extremely hard to track down, cause either the browser itself or the debugger to actually crash, or do not actually repro under the debugger due to weird timing issues. My frustration levels are near volcanic eruption at the moment.
The obvious answer to this question would be "Well, it completely depends on your target audience." My site is a cooking related site, and according to Google Analytics, is mostly used by middle-aged housewives with kids. IE is definitely the most commonly used browser, however the statistics I collected during the beta release showed that only between 3 and 4% of my users were on IE7. The majority were either IE8 or Firefox (yay for techie housewives!)
- Are new consumer oriented web startups bothering with IE7 support?
- Is there a rough formula or rule to determine at what point it's no longer cost-effective to support a certain browser?
- Would it be a reasonable compromised to get the site basically working under IE7, with perhaps a few minor cosmetic bugs but still functional? Note that this of course increases the test-matrix for future development work.
I'd love to hear any feedback.