Behind the Numbers: What one site can tell us.

“A good player plays where the puck is. A great player plays where the puck is going to be.” – Wayne Gretzky

We’re all aware that things are constantly changing and doing so faster then ever in the world of web. New challenges arise daily. More browsers, more devices, more screen sizes, changing user contexts and much more. Sometime looking at things in new way can paint a more clear picture of the reality. So I’ve taken some time to look at one online properties to see just what we’re up against today and to try to offer some insight on where we’re likely to be this time next year.

Analytics Infographic

Some of the numbers are downright crazy. But each one offers some great insights into how we might go about thinking of designing and developing for web in the upcoming year. One look at 4285 different screen resolutions in year and it quickly becomes clear that one size will not fit all. In 2008 our most common browser size, 1024 x 768, accounted for 42.62% of all visits and today it’s 5th and accounts for a mere 8.18%, part of which is from tablet use. Today our most common screen size is 1366 x 768 and only accounts for 11.48% of all screen sizes, leaving 88.52% unaccounted for. It’s no wonder why responsive design is on everyones minds these days. This is just one of many such thought provoking insights that came to light.

It’s also interesting to see how one online property compares to other online properties. For instance, this site has nearly twice the mobile visitors as similar site. Why? This is just one of the many metrics that vary greatly between brand sites. Affirming the idea that one size does not fit all. Combining this information with in person user research could shed further light on the reason for these difference and help us refine our online presence to create even more effective consumer engagement channel.

These numbers make a few things clear. One, things are only going to get more challenging. There’s no sign that the number of new device coming to market will ever let. Clinging to the idea that we can control how people will reach our sites is futile. Users have more choices then ever and it’s clear they planned to use them. Two, a new approach is going to need to emerge in order to combat this onslaught of growing variables. Working content out, mobile first and progressive enhancement is one way to do this. Three, our new certainty is uncertainty. Nothing appears to be set in stone any longer.

My hope here is to simply pass along some information in new way and maybe spark some discussion regarding the future of web design.

Note: actual site names have been omitted for privacy reasons.

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Mike Donahue

Just a guy that's passionate about creating useful, usable and desirable experiences for all humans. I love nature and wildlife photography, it's my source of artistic expression and inner peace. I live and play in South Florida with my wife Nikki and our girls (dogs) Layla and Cassidy.

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