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It has been more than 6 years since Internet Explorer last received an upgrade from Microsoft. Is testing on IE still relevant as per the end-user point of view?

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    What are you expecting beyond the obvious "it is if enough of your users still access your services via IE"? – jonrsharpe Sep 21 at 13:26
  • Does testing on WindowsXP still make sense in 2020? July 2019, 2300 PCs within the UK NHS were still using it, and by extension, probably an older version of IE too. publictechnology.net/articles/news/… – Neil Sep 23 at 9:30
  • @Neil worse than that, some of the pages hosted by the NHS need to be run on IE. This includes the results page from the coronavirus testing – OmarL Sep 23 at 13:28
  • If you work on a project, the targetted supported browser and their version should have been defined. – Walfrat Sep 24 at 13:57
  • Can you build infrastructure into the application to report what users are using? – lit Sep 24 at 18:39

10 Answers 10

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It depends on your user base. Either check your statistics or do market research. W3schools shows that IE11 is still 0.4% of their population Netmarketshare says 5.5%.

I once had a client that used an older version of internet explorer on their terminal stations in their physical stores. We asked an extra yearly fee (100k dollars) to test the application versus this older version to motivate them to upgrade, but they were willing to pay.

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    How about 50% in summer government departments? – Aleks G Sep 21 at 21:55
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    The linked stat of 0.4% is just an example, it is a representation of the visitors of W3Schools. So the actual worldwide number is probably higher. – Niels van Reijmersdal Sep 22 at 7:42
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    @NielsvanReijmersdal most definitely higher. People who go to w3 schools generally are already more computer literate/savvy and are more likely to use chrome/firefox. I'd be amazed if the "true" percentage web-wide was under 10% of IE users. – BruceWayne Sep 22 at 14:58
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    @BruceWayne I think 10% is high, but netmarketshare.com/browser-market-share.aspx says 5.5% which seems plausible. – Niels van Reijmersdal Sep 22 at 15:14
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    @BruceWayne FWIW people who go to W3Schools are not that savvy. Savvy folks use better, more reliable resources. – TylerH Sep 23 at 20:33
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+100

Older IE is still widely used in corporate networks since it has more integration with windows security and networking mechanisms as well as with ms office suite.

Big corporations often have large lag in new technologies adoption since they would need to test numerous corporate applications for compatibility with new browsers.

So I wouldn't exclude from testing at least for corporate applications.

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    This. We're developing for a big company, and they have tons of smaller companies using the end product. The big company itself is currently still in the process of switching their default browser away from IE, but since they've recommended IE use to all those smaller ones using their product their current stance with us is "we can't be sure what browsers the actual users will have, and we've always recommended IE. So the product still needs to support IE." – Syndic Sep 24 at 7:53
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    "Older IE is still widely used in corporate networks since it has more integration with windows security and networking backdoor vulnerabilities as well as with ms office suite." FTFY. – Geeky Guy Sep 24 at 20:38
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IE is (unfortunately) still around. It is not unusual for large government companies to have a deal with their hardware/software vendor that specifically mentions Microsoft products, including IE. They often require all their software to be compatible.

Government organizations, by inertion, will continue using IE until the contract runs out and they all get Linux machines with Firefox pre-installed. ;)

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    Pretty much yes. There is some push now that the new edge browser is out and even the head honchos noticed here in Czech Republic, but the smaller town/village councils still use hand-me-downs consisting of phased out governmental hardware. There are still Windows XP computers and people wih internet explorer 7 connecting to our applications from small vilages - although that's single digit number of cases. And we're central europe. – mishan Sep 22 at 12:37
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    Government organizations on Linux machines? There are a few ones, but you are mostly daydreaming. – Ángel Sep 22 at 23:34
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  • Hopefully soon. But until HW vendors start delivering their end-user laptops/computers with Linux, this is far from reality. The default is still Windows, and only sometimes you can ask for like Ubuntu on Dell machines and perhaps some other exceptions. – pavelsaman Sep 23 at 18:35
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    @pavelsaman At the scale of most government supply contracts, the government can get whatever the hell they want on their computers. The issue is good support from hardware vendors for actually running Linux on their hardware and support from major applications for running on Linux (though that is getting better thanks to web apps). Windows gets used because it just works, not because it's the default offering for consumer retail sales of computer hardware. – Austin Hemmelgarn Sep 23 at 19:17
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As shown in the other answers, it really depends on your user base.

If you are targeting developers and high-end users, you probably won't have many (or any) using IE.

If you are targeting corporate or government environments, many may still be using IE (or obsolete versions of Chrome). Any update of the browser used by default on user's computers may break a number of proprietary applications which may not have been updated in years either, so they tend to stick with whatever works, because testing, upgrading, and all the dependencies that go with that is a lot of time (and money).

Anything in between (the public at large), you'll get a small percentage of IE users. The exact figure depends a lot on the target user base (country, age, revenue, tech-savviness...), so your best option is to measure it using your own stats/analytics. Once you have a figure, it's a business decision: is the revenue generated by that small portion of users larger than the cost of continuing to support IE and test on that platform?

Note that testing is really the tip of the iceberg here: the whole development process is affected by IE compatibility. In some environments maintaining support for IE can either be very costly, or very restrictive, or both (though IE11 is a lot better than some previous versions of IE were). So make sure the whole chain is involved. Unless you have business-specific reasons to support IE (as detailed above), you'll probably have the whole development team support you if you mention dropping support for IE!

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  • We do a lot of work for large government-related healthcare organizations, with the NHS (the UK's national public healthcare service which is the 5th biggest employer in the world) being by far the biggest single organization, and all of our products need to work on IE. Few of our users work on computers without an alternative to IE, but a very large number of them use IE despite alternatives being available, simply because they're good at healthcare but don't really care about computers. – Xano Sep 23 at 21:25
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Until a few weeks ago I would have said "maybe", because people who are still using Windows 7 and don't want to install a non-Microsoft browser (for whatever reason) were stuck with IE11, and couldn't install Edge. They probably make up the bulk of the 0.4% IE users mentioned in another answer.

But recently Microsoft has created a new version of Edge that can be installed on Windows 7, and is actively telling IE users to switch, so the number of people who are stuck with IE will probably decrease even further.

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  • Personal experience: I thought I would have moved over to Edge to stick with Internet Explorer. But upon seeing how different it was in user experience and to configure everything, I decided to move on to Firefox instead. Still using Internet Explorer when I want a native pop-up blocker that blocks everything without having to install an ad blocker though. – Clockwork Sep 22 at 10:06
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Microsoft bids farewell to Internet Explorer.

As per latest information from Microsoft, Microsoft To End Support For Its Ageing Browser Internet Explorer In 2021(News here).

But still most of the client required the Internet Explorer. Because they are still using the Older version due to some reason with security integration with Microsoft tools.

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I believe the answer is to be found in this URL: XBAP Support in IE Edge:
As you can see, there are formats, supported by Internet Explorer, not being supported by Edge (Internet Explorer's replacement).

As long as there are such formats (I know about XBAP, I have no knowledge about other formats), Internet Exlorer must still be tested (unless, of course, you are legally sure that such formats will never be used).

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Depends on your audience, but if you need stability, YES.

Real life example: Last year(2019) I made a web application to be used by professors, I was later informed that they were unknowingly bypassing a validation and causing a bug (validation on the front-end, my mistake, granted), but wouldn't you know it. Not only were they using IE, they were using IE, but IE 11 didn't had this issue, I had to go down the history of IE, and I eventually found it, only IE6(2001) or older would make that bug happen, I made it compatible and the issue was gone.

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As a Tester, you can surely deal with testing on IE 11. The decision is, however, not only up to you. Therefore, I'd try to find out what matters to other stakeholders:

  • marketing team might have certain opinions about what browser customers use
  • if the system is for internal users, the company might have some policies about what browsers their employees use (this would most likely be common knowledge for you and the development team from day one)
  • you can perhaps access logs and collect statistics about User-Agent header, and therefore decide based on some data about what browsers you'll use for testing
  • you can find global statistics like this one: https://www.w3counter.com/globalstats.php

Don't guess, ask other people who matter, collect data. Then see for yourself if testing on IE 11 makes sense in 2020 in your particular context.

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As already said this really depends from your user base.

In our case - the requirement was to run it on both: desktop version and mobile/tablet version, since our customers also used our application on all these items we had to evaluate which browsers/mobile browsers they are using (e.g. Opera, Internet Explorer, Safari etc.).

So in our case we also made thoughts about considering Internet Explorer within our testing scope or not. Following points were important for us to make the decision whether we should consider IE within our testing scope or not:

Our customer -> More desktop or mobile related?

  • We asked our customers whether they are using the products via desktop and/or mobile version. This was very interesting for us because we also detected that customers with Apple Products were more willingly to pay for our products than Android users

Which browsers are mostly used for destkop/mobile versions?

  • Since we also were responsible for testing the versions within different countries we used Statcounter to find out, which browser was more used for e.g. the German market.

enter image description here Source: Statcounter

So as you can see the used browser for the German market for IE is very low just 4,4%. This leads also to the decision to concentrate more on Chrome, Firefox and Safari, less on Opera and IE.

At the end: Since our customer weren't developers (or special users from the Government using Internet Explorer), we just made the focus on testing more on the most used browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Safari) and once when the customer is using Internet Explorer - which leads to our page - we just inserted a Pop-Up "You are using IE, this platform doesn't work with IE, please use e.g. xx browser".

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