Responsive web design and how to be nice to IE

Many people believe that Internet Explorer (especially 7 and 8) cannot render correctly responsive web sites. Well the truth is that IE sucks big time (especially versions previous to 9), although the above statement is partially true. With a tiny bit of effort you can make your responsive web site play nicely with IE as well. Let me tell you how.

The first thing you must do in any case (this tip is not only for responsive web design), is to make sure that IE is using the latest rendering engine it supports. We can do this very simply by including the below metatag. Finally, if the user has Google Frame (does anyone have it?) we tell IE to use that rendering engine.

See the Pen Responsive web design and how to be nice to IE by John Tsevdos (@tsevdos) on CodePen

Easy so far, the next major problem is that IE8 and below doesn’t recognise HTML5 elements. Again you can include either html5shiv or modernizr to fix this. Html5shiv is smaller in filesize and does the job but Modernizr can help you detect browser features (and not only that), the choice is yours.

Finally you can make IE understand media queries (a very important part of responsive web design) with the excellent Javascript polyfill Respond.js. That’s it, you’ve made it! With these very simple steps we can be nice to IE and make it treat right our responsive web sites.

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