Analytics confirm the need for adaptive web design and cross-browser compatibility

Anyone who knows me knows I’m a data nerd. And the organization I work for recently passed our four-year mark using Google Analytics.

I got to thinking about adaptive web design this weekend. Today’s Content Strategists Meetup is going to cover content management challenges in an adaptive world:

We suddenly need to reshape, rethink, and redesign our content to work on smartphones, tablets, apps, social channels, eBooks, and more including what’s yet to come.

So I decided to pull the data on how our website visitors’ choice of web browsers, operating systems, and screen resolution has changed over the past four years. The results are pretty conclusive in terms of demonstrating needs for adaptive web design and cross-browser compatibility.

Just four years ago the majority of our visitors saw our website in Internet Explorer on a Windows computer on a minimum 1,024 pixel wide screen. Times have really changed.

  • Windows users used to comprise 93.5% of our web visits. Now that percentage is 72.4%. Visitors using a Mac have more than tripled.
  • The percentage visiting from a mobile device or tablet (iPhone, Android, iPad, iPod, or Blackberry) was just 0.1% in 2008. It has since grown exponentially, 200-400% per year, to 6.2% today.
  • Four years ago 75.5% of our web visitors used Internet Explorer. That number has fallen to 37%. Firefox now comprises 25.5%, Safari 19.5%, and Chrome 15.3%.
  • In the second quarter of 2008 we detected 71 different screen resolutions among our visitors. In the first quarter of 2012 we detected 830.

I won’t write at length about the content challenges this presents, others have already covered that eloquently. I’ll just say that our data reaffirms that the challenges are real.

The following numbers are a snapshot of one website’s traffic between April 2008 and March 2012. Download the spreadsheet here or keep reading to compare charts.

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