A huge task in web design is not only determining the demographics of your intended audience but also figuring out the measure of technology that they use to view your website. The W3Counter has a global report on user’s environments in order to most successfully develop for the largest number of environments.
Before I give what I feel to be the “average” web user it should be noted that these statistics aren’t the best for every audience. For instance, if your site is on bleeding-edge technology then it’s pretty safe to assume that you’ll have the best in web technology to design for; one example is that my Mint installations tell me that this site receives 63% of the users using Firefox, but my main blog, which has more of an average user base, has 33% of the users using Firefox. Be sure to take these statistics with caution, and also be sure to do proper demographic and usability studies to determine your target audience’s technology.
The “Average” Web User
- Browser: Internet Explorer 6.0/7.0; Firefox 1.5+
- Operating System: Windows XP/Vista
- Screen Resolution: 1024×768+
- Language: English (Majority)
- Flash: Most Users Have Version 8+
It is quite clear that Microsoft is still dominating the web world in terms of browser and operating system. However, Firefox is continually gaining now holding around a 30% market share. That’s impressive for an open source product! Internet Explorer 6 still reigns supreme, and that means we still have to live with most users not supporting modern CSS standards including their broken box model and the :hover pseudo-class on all elements besides the anchor tag. PNG transparency is still something that the majority of designs can’t yet take advantage of.
The 800×600 resolution has long been the lowest common denominator to design for, but I think we’re coming near the end of this resolution being something to design for (as happened to 640×480). The technology is advancing, but we still have a ways to go in order to effectively utilize a wide range of up and coming technologies.