Imagining the Future from Website Statistics

Thanks to the WLP website redesign project, we have been thinking about technical capabilities of our site visitors a lot lately. Thanks to Google Analytics, we can pinpoint such things as what browser, operating system, screen resolution, and so on that our website visitors have, which is very helpful as we make design decisions.

While we were focusing on current capabilities of our audience, Talking Points Memo (TPM)’s browser stats analysis post made me go back to Google Analytics for a similar comparison. Our site visitors tend be more international. Only 36% of our visitors come from North America. I assume TPM, with its focus on American politics, has a more geographically specific audience. With that in mind, first the raw numbers:

  Jan ’10
Jan ’10
Jan ’09
Firefox 39.82% 30.27% 25.16%
Internet Explorer 29.10% 54.30% 66.63%
Safari 21.83% 6.36% 3.94%
Chrome 7.17% 6.70% 1.32%
Operating System (OS)
Windows 64.43% 87.68% 91.02%
Mac 30.08% 9.55% 6.65%
iPhone 2.73% 0.35% 0.99%
Linux 1.65% 1.81% 0.09%

The fact that the two sites have different geographic focus explains some of the interesting variations we see above. For instance, Mac users make up 30% of TPM’s visitors while they are about 10% for WLP. Within these variations, there is one common trend, a very troubling one for Microsoft – its fortunes are declining. Internet Explorer is no longer the primary browser for primarily US-based TPM visitors. And it is seeing a year-over-year drop of almost 10% among the more international WLP site visitors. While the fall is not as precipitous in the operating system world, there still is a slow deterioration.

iPhone compatible! (cc) AndyRamdin |

iPhone compatible! (cc) AndyRamdin |

In addition to these, there is another new “thing” that is slowly raising its head – accessing websites with mobile devices. Mobile operating systems such as iphone (0.35%), SymbianOS (0.07%), Android (0.02%), and BlackBerry (0.02%) seem to make miniscule percentage of site visitors. However, they were not even a blip in the radar two years ago. Android and BlackBerry did not even exist in our analytics log at that time!

This foretells the trouble we will have to face when we redesign our website 3-5 years from now. Imagine having to build a website that renders beautifully in a computer screen with 1280×800 resolution and in a mobile screen that is about 240×320.

Stop! Stop!

None of us here actually have time to imagine the future. We have a website to build. And it will be optimized for the two major browsers, 1280×800 screens, 32 bit color, and Flash version 10.0.r42. No Java please.

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