Designing for users and knowing why (for the web)

Often, you’ll come across website that mentioned they are best for a certain browser and best viewed at XXX by XXX resolution. How do you know which is the best for your users and not just because the design looks great? By asking your users of course! Since most users probably wouldn’t be bothered to answer a poll on their machine specs, its much easier to employ tools to help with this.

Any decent web analytics software should be able to offer metrics with this. Case in point, Google Analytics (my account still doesn’t seem to be upgraded with the new look yet).

By looking at the “Content Optimization > Web Design Parameters”, there is a multitude of information that webmasters and designers should harvest if they are planning a revamp of a website.

For example, checking the Browser Versions info would tell you exactly which browser is the most popular with your site and you should make sure it works perfectly for that. That being said, you should always design for maximum compatibility with all browsers (if that is even possible these days) but you wouldn’t want your most important visitors to look at a messed up page would you?

 Another useful information would be the browser resolution tab since you can immediately tell if you should be designing to cater to which crowd. Hope this tips help you with your next project and make your visitors slightly happier in navigating a website.

Personally, I browse mainly on Windows platform (XP, Vista) using Firefox 2, IE 7 at 1280×1024 and 1024×768 resolutions at Broadband 6Mbps, 256Kb just to see the loading times and design of my sites. Recently some projects have been having problems with Mac Safari and Firefox so looking at ways to resolve this.


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