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"ACM SIGCHI WWW Human Factors (Open Discussion)" <[log in to unmask]>
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From:
Marc Crawford <[log in to unmask]>
Date:
Wed, 10 Nov 1999 13:53:44 EST
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Marc Crawford <[log in to unmask]>
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This is not a survey of the world,
>as is implied by the statement "... Here are some stats on changes in the
>use of browser sizes ... The numbers reveal that surfers ..."
>
I don't think that's what it implies. It provides statistics - not "world
surveys" results, which BTW might be a little hard to conduct ;-)
It seems to me that they at least do quite a good job in tracking down a
large pool of users: "StatMarket publishes real-time statistics based on the
combined data from tens of millions of daily Internet users visiting the
tens of thousands of sites..."
http://www.statmarket.com/SM?c=methodology
(At least these are much larger samples than I ever encountered in my years
of Psych research...)

>Also keep in mind that virtually no Web site has a truly "representative"
>user base, i.e., your site's visitors may all use 800 x 600 or greater, but
>my site's visitors may all use 640 x 480. The only way to responsibly serve
>the needs of your users in this regard is to track the actual patterns *on
>your site*.
>
I disagree. The whole thing gets a lot more complicated when you consider
that some users (like me) switch browser sizes. How in the world can you
track your users patterns if they go from full screen to smaller views - or
(like I sometimes do with Opera) even open up multiple different-sized
windows of the same site?!

The stats are good for what they are - stats. One of the fundamental
mistakes is to take this kind of info and interpret it as the reality of
certain users' behaviors under certain circumstances.
It does, however, give you an impression of *tendencies* in equipment size,
speed, browsers, etc.
This brings up a different discussion: do you design for minorities or the
majority of users? Although it's usually the latter, there are *certain*
cases, e.g. intra- or extranet design where you might actually care less
about certain common design restrictions (if you know your users and their
equipment very well).

>
>
>
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Marc Crawford [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
>Sent: November 04, 1999 11:52 AM
>To: [log in to unmask]
>Subject: Hi-Res Browsing on the Rise (was: the new washingtonpost.com)
>
>
>Michael Fry wrote:
>"I have written the editors to ask, in earnest, how they
>[washingtonpost.com] conducted their research and how (for example) they
>decided to move to 800 pixels."
>
>Here are some stats on changes in the use of browser sizes:
>
>"The numbers reveal that surfers with monitors set to
>640x480 pixels fell from 17.83% on Jan. 17 to not quite
>15% at the beginning of July to only 12.59% of all
>monitors by Oct. 14, 1999, representing a drop in actual
>usage of 29.3% since the beginning of the year.
>
>During the same period, Web users with monitors set to
>the most common resolution of 800x600 pixels dropped
>only slightly, moving from a high of 55.88% at the end
>of February to a low of 53.84% in the first week of
>August and maintaining a 54.77% average since the
>beginning of the year.
>
>The highest resolution of 1280x1024 pixels, tracked since
>mid-March, also stayed roughly even, rising from 1.61%
>on Mar. 22 to 2.20% on August 19, averaging 1.91%
>over the period.
>
>The largest gain was at 1024x768 pixel resolution, most
>associated with 17-inch monitors and higher. The
>... resolutions chart reflects an almost
>step-for-step mirrored rate with that for 640x480
>resolutions. In terms of numbers, users of 1024x768 pixel
>resolution jumped from 20.48% on January 17 to a high
>of 25.94% on October 14, reflecting a rise in usage of
>26.6%."
>
>Chart:
>http://www.statmarket.com/SMHT?c=Screen_Resolutions&p=284&submit=Get+Chart&i
>1=640%2A480&m=30&i2=1024%2A768
>(You can create charts for various combinations of resolutions)
>
>Article source: http://www.statmarket.com/
>
>I could imagine with only about 12% using 640x480 pixels, dropping by 30%
>in
>a year, there will soon be a lot of companies switching to designing for
>higher resolutions.
>
>
>Marc Crawford
>
>Information Architect & Web Usability Consultant
>
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>Get Your Private, Free Email at http://www.hotmail.com
>

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