Because of the multifarious nature of web clients today, it’s important to consider the usage statistics when designing, implementing, and managing your site. However, misconceptions often arise when determining what browsers to design for and test with.

If you were to google “browser trends” and visit the first link, you would be shown a data table with a usage distribution of the 5 major web browsers (see it here or in the figure below.) It easy to misinterpret these statistics, and assume that the numbers are representative of all Internet users.

The source of these numbers is a popular website development education site, W3schools. The data is collected from their own log files, which does not represent the typical Internet user. Web developers are more likely to use Firefox or Chrome over Internet Explorer for many reasons including built in debugging tools. According to Net Marketshare, a site that collects the data from thousands of different websites across the globe, desktop users still favor Internet Explorer at 55% for this month. Firefox and Chrome are behind at 23% and 16% respectively.

Source: www.netmarketshare.com

When looking at data, it is important to pay attention to the source of the data and the methods used for collection. Although both Chrome and Firefox usage are growing fast in “geeky” markets, Internet Explorer is still the most used browser by general consumers. For your own site, you want to limit the analyses to trends in the market you are in. You should consider data gathered from your own analytics and logs when determining an operational strategy for your site.

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