First of all, do not dump support for Internet Explorer 6, that is not the intention of this article. The point is to, where possible, ensure that your site works in IE6. But where it’s not possible, or you would have to spend too much time and energy on writing “hacks” to make it work, you can apply a warning/information to consider upgrading IE or to use another browser.
What not to do
When to warn
Generally, you should only show warnings when they’re directly beneficial to the user, such as a major part of the site is based on functionality that does not work or render properly in IE6. If you misuse your trust as a website owner, and force the user to upgrade for no practical reasons, it will just be an unnecessary hassle for the user. And when they return to the site with a new or updated browser, only to see that site has no changes, they’ll lose all trust in it.
If you get too “hung-up” in hating IE6, and decide to block access to all IE6 users, you can be pretty sure that they will never return, regardless of what browser they later end up with. The choice must always always rest with the user, they have to be in control of making the decision. And if they don’t want to upgrade, that’s down to them and it’s their loss. However, with the right approach, you can encourage them by explaining the benefits of switching or upgrading their browser, you’re more likely to get a positive result this way. The image below is from Travellerspoint, and it looks nice.
The truth is, while you and me know that it is better to either upgrade or switching your browser, many users aren’t even aware that alternatives to Internet Explorer exists. Also, many people still have to use IE6 at work. With this in mind, we should create the warnings-text in a kind way. Tell the user that they’re using an old browser and that, because of this, the site they’re currently on won’t look its best, and some functionality might be unavailable. Then suggest that, for a better browsing expreience, they should consider upgrading.
Applying the warning
It only takes a few lines of html code to apply the IE6 warning. You need to make use of conditional comments to apply it to your website. The code below is one way of doing it. It wraps a conditional comment around the relevant code block:
<!--[if lt IE 7]>
[Place your warning text here]
Modern, compliant browsers will just ignore this block of code. But versions of IE below version 7 will read it and treat it as html. So, if this was read by an IE6 browser, it would generate the html placed in the block, but if it was by IE7 or IE8, it would ignore it.
So, the conclusion would be: Keep it simple, keep it polite, and reassure and assist IE6 users, rather than showing them the finger.