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October 10, 2003

Browser Stats

I know the readership of this blog is not exactly a typical cross-section of blog readers generally, let alone of web-surfers as a whole. But I thought I’d share with you the past 10 days (5600 page retrievals, after eliminating robots, RSS newsreaders and other crud) of stats for this blog.

First, the breakdown of page accesses by browser:

Pie chart of browsers accessing this blog

As you can see, Mozilla and Internet Explorer are neck and neck, with 40% each. Safari is next with 5%, and everyone else trails well behind.

The breakdown by operating system was also interesting:

Pie chart of OS use

Windows was tops at 52%, followed by Unix (almost exclusively Linux) at 22% and MacOS at 18%.

But, as I said, maybe the readership of this blog is not all that representative. To get a more representative sample, I decided to look at the subset which arrived here via a google search (700 searches). Their browser breakdown looked like this:

Pie chart of browsers from google searchs accessing this blog

They were 67% IE, 13% Mozilla and 10% Safari users. And their OS breakdown:

Pie chart of OS use of google searchers

was 72% Windows, 15% MacOS and 12% Unix (again, almost exclusively Linux).

Several things surprised me here.

  1. I didn’t expect that the overall percentage of IE user among my readership would be as high (40%) as it is. Reading this blog in IE seems like an exercise in masochism. Until I saw the numbers, I was sure I had fewer masochist-readers.
  2. I didn’t expect that the percentage of IE users among the google searchers (a more-or-less random cross-section of web surfers) would be as low (67%) as it is. I’d swallowed whole the propaganda that 98% of web surfers are using IE. But try as I might: eliminate all searches involving Macintosh-related keywords, focus only on users running Windows, … I could never come even close to 98%.
  3. The Mozilla figure includes Firebird, but not Camino, which is counted separately. Frankly, I was surprised at how few Camino users there are. I got more hits from Lynx users than from Camino. I think this is bad news for the Camino project.
  4. Linux is bigger on the desktop than most people seem to think. And the Macintosh ain’t doing so bad either.

I don’t know whether any of this means anything to those fretting over the fallout from the Eolas Patent Suit, but it makes me want to hum Don’t worry, be happy!

Posted by distler at October 10, 2003 2:02 AM

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12 Comments & 1 Trackback

Re: Browser Stats

I don’t want to spoil the fun, but the hits you’re getting via Google are not very representative for the average Google search either… let alone the entire internet.

As you can see on Google’s “Zeitgeist”, only 1% of the hits Google gets is from Linux users.
The percentage of Mozilla users isn’t something to be excited about either, in my opinion.

It’s a mixed up world we live in…

Posted by: AcjBizar on October 10, 2003 11:33 AM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: Browser Stats

As it is frequently pointed out when referring to google statistics, the numbers may not be a good guide to the true OS/browser breakdown of the internet.

For example:

  • Maybe a typical IE/Windows user will have a less refined searching technique than an average Mozilla/Linux user, so they need more searches to find the same information - resulting in more google hits.
  • Maybe the typical search topics for Windows users are harder to find than those for Linux users, because there is less cross linking of resources.
  • Maybe tabbed browsing affects the results since there is less navigating back and forth.
  • Maybe google aren’t counting hits resulting from the various search bars that exist.

There are dozens of reasons why a single number from google could be something other than a realistic breakdown of the actual OS/browser usage.

Posted by: jgraham on October 10, 2003 4:07 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

Search behaviour

I, personally, know several people (lovely people, I hasten to add, just not terribly … computer-savvy) to whom the concept of a browser “bookmark” is utterly foreign. Their every excursion onto the web is initiated by a google search (or, much more rarely, by typing a URL manually).

They might have been to a site 100 times, but their 101st visit is still initiated by typing some variant of the site name into a google search box.

I don’t know if that’s typical behaviour among “the great unwashed,” but if it were, it would sure skew the google zeitgeist statistics something fierce!

Posted by: Jacques Distler on October 10, 2003 4:23 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

In the Eolas case, what hurts IE could very well hurt Mozilla. But time will tell what Doyle’s up to.

I’ve also been seeing this happening lately. It’s a positive sign, and one can only hope it’s the beginning of a new bell curve.

Posted by: Dave S. on October 10, 2003 11:43 AM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: Eolas

At least Mozilla has proper support for the DOM, so it is quite easy to replace some HTML with a object element. In IE it is only possible with the embed element.

I hope the W3C is going to say something about all this soon.

Posted by: Anne van Kesteren on October 11, 2003 2:07 AM | Permalink | Reply to this
Read the post Things
Weblog: Weblog about Markup & Style
Excerpt: Jeffrey Zeldman writes something about Eolas and tells us this is bad for web standards. Eric A. Meyer tells about his first paycheck and that Microsoft ruins the web. He has got a point there. My only thougt about this:...
Tracked: October 11, 2003 2:45 AM

Re: Browser Stats

Not everything is at it seems. Some browsers (Opera in particular) can spoof their identification. I think Opera identifies itself as IE by default (or at least it used to). The option comes in handy when viewing sites that “don’t play well with others”.

Posted by: Jeff Olson on October 11, 2003 11:25 AM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: Browser Stats

Interesting, my stats were were pretty similar to yours though I didn’t know you had done this when I posted. By the way, you might want to check your tab order in this comment form.

Posted by: Matt on October 12, 2003 5:43 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: Browser Stats

Interesting, my stats were were pretty similar to yours though I didn’t know you had done this when I posted.

I’m happy to hear that. While there’s probably some degree of overlap in our readerships, it’s nice to have a confirmation.

By the way, you might want to check your tab order in this comment form.

I only put tabindex attributes for the text entry fields. Is that what you are referring to? In my limited experience, tabindex attributes for other form elements don’t actually do anything useful.

Posted by: Jacques Distler on October 12, 2003 8:02 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: Browser Stats

No tabindex is useful on any link or form element. I would recommend setting the preview input button to have a tabindex of 7, because right now when I tab out of this textarea it takes me to the first link at the top of the page. You could also give the post button on your confirmation page an index so when I tab from there I can post instead of taking me back to my name.

Posted by: Matt on October 14, 2003 9:49 AM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: Browser Stats

OK, well every (visible) <input>, <select>, and <textarea> in this form now has a tabindex attribute. My copy of Mozilla skips over <input>s of type="radio", "submit" and "button", as well as skipping over <select>s. (Which is to say — for me — tabbing only works with the form elements I had previously assigned tabindexs to.)

But, perhaps, in your browser they work. So, with my compliments …

Posted by: Jacques Distler on October 14, 2003 10:48 AM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: Browser Stats

Thank you. :)

Posted by: Matt on October 16, 2003 1:11 AM | Permalink | Reply to this


When I run my application(J2EE) on safari browser(1.1) the tabindex skips over radio buttons and drop-down boxes.
Please help

Posted by: Antony on July 14, 2004 4:23 AM | Permalink | Reply to this

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