Internet Explorer is becoming a thorn in web developer's side in recent years, and this is becoming a more common question as a result. But is Internet Explorer support really necessary when it comes to your next website? There are a few factors to consider when trying to answer this question.
The above image shows the total market share of Internet Explorer versions. It's important to note that each version of Internet Explorer comes with a list of different features and compatibility issues, so each needs to be developed for individually, greatly increasing the amount of time it takes and the overall cost.
The graph above shows the average for the last 12 months. IE8 holds 7.22%, IE9 holds 6.8%, and IE10 holds 6.68%. A total market share of 20.7%. That appears to be still quite high, but if we change to the last 3 months, we get a different picture. IE8 holds 5.81%, IE9 holds 3.42%, and IE10 holds 5.56%, and IE11 joins the list with 3.97%. This gives us a total share of 18.76%.
So it appears that IE is gradually being deprecated. IE8 and 9 have seen massive drops, and even IE10, while it peaked high in the middle of the year, dropped back down quite low. IE8 is quickly being left behind, and it probably shouldn't be very high on your list of requirements for your next website. All things considered, even though IE9 and 10 are starting to lose a little ground, they are easier to develop for and should probably still be kept as potential platforms.
However, with the rise in mobile devices and the decline in traditional operating systems, support may be driven towards responsive or mobile formatting. Perhaps focus should be drawn away from desktop designs and focussed more on a standard layout that can suit all platforms neatly and without too much hassle.
One final factor to consider is the geographical location of you most likely visitors. Those in The US has seen a steady rise in IE11 usage with IE8 high at around 5.5%. The UK has seen a similar rise with other versions of IE around 3%. China shows an entirely different range, with IE8 still heavily used at 23%, with other versions, icluding IE6, ranging from 2.4% to 5.5%. So it would appear that if you plan to develop for China, plan to develop for IE8.It's a good idea to check where your majority share of visitors will be hailing from before deciding for or against a particular support path. It may just lose you an audience.
What do you think? Will you be supporting all versions of IE for your next project, or only a few?