One of the elements of design we need to consider for our agile project is the interface that our users will be using. We need a way to survey our users to get this data. We are using the data from visitors to Tyner Blain as a presumably representative sample of the users of the new ratings site. This user group is defined in our vision document as “people in our niche.”
Most of the articles in this series (and offline conversations) are being used to gain qualitative feedback. We will combine this qualitative understanding with easily gathered quantitative data.
In this article, we look at some of the statistics gathered from just under 30,000 visitors since the first of the year.
All of the stats mentioned in the rest of this article reflect usage from 1 Jan 2007 to 25 Jan 2007 – 27,695 visits as reported by Google Analytics. All of the data referenced here is gathered from that stats tool (under Content Optimization : Web Design Parameters).
One factor that often drives design constraints is the browser that people will use. Different browsers implement “standards” differently, which can influence how CSS is rendered or other implementation details. These differences can even make one design more expensive to implement than another, due to the need to create workarounds. We therefore need to define the characteristics of the supported platforms.
- 58% Internet Explorer (66% IE6, 33% IE7)
- 38% Firefox (70% 2.0.X, 26% 1.5.X)
- 2% Opera
- 1% Safari
- <1% All Others
The user’s operating system is not obviously driving constraints for the initial release, but may for future functionality.
Top Operating Systems
- 93% Microsoft Windows (88% XP, 7% Win2K, 3% Vista, 1% Server 2003)
- 4% Macintosh (54% Intel, 46% Power PC) [Note – here is the distribution in the last week (62% Intel, 38% Power PC)]
- 2% Linux
- <1% Other
This is the factor that has the most influence on early design decisions – how much screen real estate do people have? This also tells us about the common aspect ratios, and lets us know if a fluid design (stretching to fill the various screens) would be of benefit versus a fixed-width design. A fixed width design would leave empty space along the sides for viewers with wider-than-target screens.
All measurements are in pixels.
Top Screen Sizes
- 39% 1024×768
- 22% 1280×1024
- 9% 1280×800
- 7% 1400×1050
- 3% Under 1024×768
- 20% Many different widescreen resolutions
What is the native language of the browser? Note – this is not the native language of the user – we can only get browser settings. But it is the best data we have.
Top Language Data
- 88% English
- 3% Spanish
- 2% German
- 1% Czech
- 1% French
- 1% Dutch
- 1% Portugese
- <1% each for 50 other languages
Dynamic UI Support
AJAX can provide for a much improved user experience over straight HTML, if our users have it. Flash is another option to achieve similar user benefits.
Over 98% of Tyner Blain readers have java support, under 2% do not (or have disabled it for our site). 97% of Tyner Blain readers have some version of flash support (almost 70% with version 9.0).
Just under 7% of Tyner Blain readers are running at dialup speeds