Understanding the browser statistics and resolution trends is critical for web designers. If they have a better idea about the current internet usage trends, they can come up with a website design that is compatible for visitors using different browsers. In this context, the latest browser display statistics and browser statistics by W3Schools offers pertinent information for web designers.
W3Schools’ data covers the period from January 2000 to January 2014. It provides important information as to how website design and development can be carried out to attract maximum traffic. Here is a look at the statistics which show how screen resolution, color depth and browser preferences have changed over the years:
- Screen Resolution – As of January 2014 (from January 2000), 99% of visitors used a screen resolution of 1024×768 pixels or higher. Only 1% of visitors used a screen resolution of 800×600 or lower during January 2014.
- Color Depth – While most computers currently use 24 or 32 bits hardware and display a maximum of 16,777,216 different colors, older computers use 16 bits display hardware to display around 65,536 different colors. Very old computers use 8 bits color hardware, which deliver a maximum of 256 colors
- Browser – Internet usage trends during January 2014 reveals that Google Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer are the most used browsers today
There is an ongoing debate as to which screen size is the best.
Since 1024×768 pixels or higher is the most widely used screen size, you can optimize your site for 1024×768 pixels and adjust the size according to the visitors browser setting so that your website will look the same in every browser, platform and screen resolution. You can either choose a fluid layout without tables with % widths that expand and contract to fit the browser setting or a responsive web design that does the same. While optimizing a page layout for certain screen size, you need to consider three important criteria:
- Web Page Initial Visibility – You need to make sure all the key information is visible above the fold so that the users can see it without scrolling. Experts define initial visibility as a trade-off between how many items should be shown against how much details should be displayed for each of them
- Web Page Readability – This criterion refers to the readability of text in the different columns, given their allocated width
- Web Page Aesthetics – This refers overall appearance, page layout, color, and so on and how your page looks when all its elements are at the proper size and location for a particular screen size. This criterion also looks at whether all the elements line up correctly (are the captions positioned next to the photos, and so on)
However, there are several limitations with browser statistics such as it may vary according among sites and they can be skewed by many factors so that the actual numbers may be higher or lower than the reported numbers. So the best tactic for web designers is to use Google Analytics or other effective analytic tools to find out what browsers and screen sizes your audiences are using to access your site and design the site for the most common sizes.
Measures adopted to see that sites will work for as many users as possible are
- Designing the site to the HTML, CSS, DOM, and other standards and avoiding “bleeding edge” features
- Testing the site for compatibility with common browsers that implement the standards well
- Testing the sites with other browsers and making changes in the code so that the site works also for older browsers still in use
As the mobile usage is on the rise, it is very important to consider how mobile-friendly your website is while optimizing screen size in 2014. Responsive web design is an effective solution to address screen size challenges posed by tablets and smartphones, and will ensure your audience the fullest experience possible, irrespective of the device they use.