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2.1 Assessing User Base Statistics

One of the most important steps you can take to maximize cross user-setup compatibility is to first ensure you understand your user base. In this lesson you’ll learn how to access a raft of valuable information via statistics applications like Google Analytics and AWStats.

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2.1 Assessing User Base Statistics

Hi welcome to bump-proof web design. Whenever you start a new web design project, one of the most important things that you can do is to get a really solid understanding of the user base for that particular project. Unless you are building a brand new site, wherever possible, if there's any history at all on a existing domain. The absolute most perfect thing that you can start with is looking. At the statistics on any existing traffic to that domain. Even if you don't have existing traffic to a certain domain for a site that you're going to be setting up, if you can look at something comparable, it will be really informative for you. You might find yourself making certain assumptions about browsers that people might be using, resolutions they might have, because you might be tempted to look at. Statistical information that's presented by third parties. But you can't rely on anybody else's information but your own. When you actually take a look at your own statistics you might be surprised by what you find. In this lesson you're going to learn how to go through the statistics offered by Google analytics and Awstats. Let's begin. So here we are in Google Analytics. We're going to take a look at around about a month worth of data from one of my websites. And I'm going to show you quickly some of the things that you can get out of Google Analytics that will help you figure out what kind of technologies you need to cater for. So if we head down to this left menu over here. We're going to the technology subsection. You can see that we have browser and uprating system information. And the other area of interest is this mobile section. So I'll just take you through each of those. So first we'll take a look at the browser section. So scroll down. And you can see here, it's giving me the top ten browsers that are being used to access this particular site. You can also increase the number of rows of data that you have on display here. So you can see that this has tracked 19 different browsers that have been used over the past month. So right away we get some really interesting information. So, first stop, this site has chrome as its most popular browser with over half of the visitors using chrome. And the next interesting thing that I want to show you is you can also drill down and you can see the individual browser versions of each one of these browsers. So having a look at Internet Explorer, for example, you just click on the browser name. And you can see each of the different versions that are being used and by how many people. So IE 11 is the most popular for this particular website. But right here an interesting piece of information is that people are still using IE 8. So we've got 61 people across the space of a month, which this particular site got about 6,000 visitors in the space of the month. But if you expand that out, that's actually still a fairly high proportion of people that are using IE8. And we've even got a couple of people in here that are using IE7. And, also, some people using IE9. So a lot of developers these days are electing not to support IE7, 8 and 9. However, it just shows that there are still people using these browsers, so you have to make a decision on what you are going to do to handle people who are using those particular browsers. The other point of interest is I've got 100 people who have visited using the Opera Mini browser, so there are a lot of different CSS3 and HTML5 technologies that won't display correctly in Opera Mini. So we'll go through that a little bit in a bit more detail in another video. But right there, you can see that there is actually a significant portion of the visitors to this particular website who are not going to be able to experience some of the more modern technologies that you might choose to employ in your websites. So we'll have a look at the mobile subsection next. So the first thing you get is a broad breakdown of the general categories of device. So you have right here, shows you how many people are using desktop computers to access your site. How many people are using mobiles, as in smart phones, and how many people are using tablets. So we might see other categories pop up here as different types of devices like televisions, and watches, and vehicles become more popular. But for the moment this is the breakdown that you're going to get. So on this site, I've got 93% of people are using a desktop browser, but that's because this particular site is oriented towards web design. So you might find that in different types of sites, so for example say you're doing a restaurant site for a client. You're far more likely to find that people on the move are going to be looking for a restaurant to go to so you are going to a higher proportion of people using mobile and tablet devices. If you click on the devices link over here You get a lot of very very good information so, the first breakdown that you get is all the actual specific devices that your visitors are using and we can see the most popular devices all up. And you can expand this out, to enable you to see a lot of information. And then along here you can also see extra subsegments of information. So if you have look on this operating system tab for example, you can see what the most popular specific mobile operating systems are for your visitors. So iOS, Android, et cetera. That was also something that you could see in the general technology section. So right next to the browser information, you've also got the ability to click on this operating system sub tab. And so here overall this is a combination of both desktop and mobile user information. So we can see that for this website, 69% of visitors are using Windows, 21% are using Macintosh. If you scroll down that even further, so you can see what version. And again you can also then see all of the different operating systems and their popularity in order. And the other particular point of interest will be the screen resolution statistics. So here we can see that 1366x768 is the most common resolution, followed by 1920x1080. So another stats application that can be really helpful is Awstats. And Awstats is available through pretty much every hosting service that has a control panel. In particular if it has C panel. The way you access Awstats is you jump into your C panel, you move down to this logs section In there you'll find Awstats, so if you click that it will give you a list of all of your sites. You can choose which site you'd like to look at the stats for and then it will take you into the full display. So this is the site same site that we looked at in Google analytics. But the big difference between Awstats and Google analytics is Google analytics relies on a Java script bit firing effectively. So if for whatever reason, that piece of Java script doesn't pick up a site visitor, you won't get information on their setup. So Awstats, on the other hand, runs on your server. So it catches all the information including everything from bots or anyone who doesn't set off that little piece of JavaScript. So you'll find that there will be a lot more traffic recorded by Awstats. But my general experience has been somewhere in the middle between Google Analytics and Awstats is about where the reality of your USI traffic is. So you could see here, Awstats has recorded 14,000 visitors where Google Analytics recorded a little over, it was around the, 6,000 mark for the same period of time on the same website. So let's have look at some of the information you can get from Awstats. So if we jump down here into operating systems, we can see it's roughly comparable. It's still telling us that Windows is the most common operating system, followed by Mac/OS X, Linux, et cetera. But we're not getting some of the same information, especially if you start having a look at the browser information. So let's just jump into This section here, if we have a look at the full list of browsers. Now here we're actually getting some data showing up for versions of IE all the way back to IE5. So these are very small numbers so we're looking not at unique visitors here, but hits, so these smaller numbers for IE5 and 5.5 and 6.1 here, these are probably anomalies that have showed up somehow, but they're probably not indications of actual traffic. Now, on the other hand, IE6 is showing up here with about the same amount of data as IE9. So if we are to say that this data is reliable and we were to work off the information that Awstats gave us sorry, that Google analytics gave us. Google Analytics said that we're getting about 40 visitors a month that were using IE9. So we can then interpret from that this data may indicate that we are getting around about the same amount of visitors from IE6. And that we're also getting some traffic from IE7, and IE8, and IE9. So all of these browsers will present you with some cross compatibility issues, and if you decide to pay attention to this data, then you are going to have to have a plan. On how you'll work around those issues. So it's possible that some of this data shows traffic from older visitors, sorry, older browsers like I6, it may be anomalous. It may be showing up on the right but it might not be reliable. However, it is also possible that you have people who are using, the best computer that they can get their hands on, and that computer may be running on an older operating system and still using the browser that came with it. And that browser may not be triggering the Google analytics script to fire. So this may in fact, be a notable portion of your traffic. So that's where you have to make your decision on how you will handle visitors who are using these older browsers. And that's what we're going to talk about a little bit later. In the next video you'll learn how to take your understanding of your users and make the right decisions on exactly how for and wide your support should go for various types of setups.

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