We have an endless succession of helpful support contacts at Google, but with every new one I have to explain that our clients aren’t like most of the companies they appear to deal with. No, it’s nowhere near true that mobile traffic represents half of all our clients’ website visitors. Yes, I have checked, thanks. They still don’t seem to believe me, but then again, they’re equally dubious when I suggest that most of our clients don’t have online stores either. Sigh.
One of our clients recently asked us to look into the trends in what technology site visitors are using, prior to the client specifying a completely new website. This was a very sensible thing to be considering at an early stage. I know they won’t mind me sharing the results with you. The company is in the scientific and technical sector, and gets visitors from all over the world, and their data comes from Google Analytics.
Firstly, the overall desktop and mobile traffic numbers:
I’d say that the mean proportion of mobile usage nowadays for scientific and engineering companies is probably a bit higher than this, but our client’s figure of 12% mobile is closer to the median.
Next, the browsers they use:
Google’s Chrome browser took over the number one spot from previous favourites Internet Explorer and Firefox a few years ago, and is now cementing its lead (although it has nothing like the market share which Internet Explorer once had).
What about operating systems?
As you might expect, Windows dominates, with the only real trend being an increase in Android, which is the operating system for most non-Apple smartphones and tablets. We can break the Windows traffic down into different versions:
Quite surprising to see the inertia of old versions of Windows, particularly as (or perhaps because of) such a high proportion of visitors being from business environments. This might be an issue which designers should consider, as older versions of Windows may not be able to handle some of the technology found on modern websites – what happens if they can’t?
Next, we need to look at the browser/operating system combinations:
Your website needs to be tested on all the combinations which score more than just a couple of percentage points. In addition, with some browsers, particularly Internet Explorer, it’s sensible to test on different versions:
Here we can at least confirm the death of Internet Explorer 6, which famously required many websites to employ serious code hacks to make them display properly. The legacy code can still be found all over the web.
Finally, a quick look at screen resolutions:
The ‘1366’ one is a standard laptop resolution. Larger resolutions are steadily growing, as you might expect, but there are still many visits on screens of 1280 pixels or less, technology which has been around in PCs forever (although intriguingly 1280 is making a comeback in mobile devices).
Hope that’s useful!