Google Analytics Impact on the Browser Wars

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When designing a website for your law firm or business, you want to make sure it looks good and functions well, no matter what sort of Internet browser your clients are viewing it in. But how do you know which browsers are the most important and most commonly used by your potential customers? Google Analytics can help.

Google Analytics is a free tool that provides webmasters with detailed information about each aspect of their website visitors. One area you can track is browsers. Browser statistics will help you make design decisions and also determine whether it’s worth the investment to install snazzy technological features.

For instance, in the example website below, 36% of users are using Firefox, while only 21% use Internet Explorer. You may even see other browsers and platforms such as PlayStation 3 or BlackBerry phones. Also of note is that the Safari browser is used 12% of the time, more than doubling the national average of 5%, which means you’ll want the site to look perfect in Apple’s browser.

A bar chart and pie chart show website visits by various browsers. Firefox leads with 1,630 visits (36.01%), followed by Chrome with 1,445 visits (31.89%), and Internet Explorer with 684 visits (15.11%).

Going a step further, Google Analytics even tracks the browser version. Of the 36% of visitors who use Firefox in the above example, over 60% of them are on the latest version: 5.0.1. Interesting to note is that about 20% of those visitors are a couple versions behind on 3.6.

Why is This Info Important?

What’s important to know about browser versions is that just like automobiles and cell phones, the newer the product, the better the performance and the nicer things will display. A BMW released in 2011 will drive faster and handle better than a 2001 Toyota, despite them both having four tires. Web browsers work in the same way with Internet Explorer 6 being the Toyota and Firefox 5 being the BMW, despite them both having scrollbars and back buttons.

Using the example above, if we analyze Internet Explorer’s 21%, we’ll notice that over 65% of IE users are a version behind on 8. With IE 6 only accumulating 25 visits per month, or less than 1% of total traffic, it would not be time efficient or cost effective to tweak a massive drop-down menu that uses all the latest web standards and CSS3. On the same lines, if over 20% of your traffic is using Internet Explorer 6, then it’s clear that the menu system needs to function even if a deprecated one is used.

These numbers prove why browser testing is crucial when developing a new website. When building a website using the latest version of Firefox, only 1/5th of the site’s visitors will see the website as intended. Browser testing needs to be done on every browser and on at least the last three versions.

PaperStreet always incorporates browser testing into its custom web design process, ensuring that whatever browser your clients and potential customers use, the look and function will stay consistent and professional.

For more info, check out this info-graphic that illustrates the market percentage of each internet browser worldwide.

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