We recently came across this utility today while rummaging around in Google Labs – Google Browser Size.
The utility loads a web page with an overlay that visually demonstrates what portions of a web page are viewable to users based on Google’s statistics on their visitors. It’s important to note that they are not measuring display resolution, they are detecting browser window size! This is a visualization of how large the average browser window is. As Google describes it:
On the example page that you see when you first visit this site, there is a “donate now” button which falls within the 80% contour, meaning that 20% of users cannot see this button when they first visit the page. 20% is a significant number; knowing this fact would encourage the designer to move the button much higher in the page so it can be seen without scrolling.
W3Schools is a website which caters to web developers and programmers and I tend to find it a reasonable proxy for other tech-savvy audience segments. They post a monthly breakdown of their log files showing average display resolution (not window size mind you) for their visitors. The numbers for January 2010 show 76% of users ABOVE 1024 x 768 resolution and 20% AT 1024×768. This leaves only 1% at 800×600 and 3% “unknown”.
Looking at the graph on Google Browser Size again, it shows 40% of browser windows are smaller 1024 pixels wide. That’s at 36% gap between the screen resolution from W3Schools with Google’s statistics on actual browser window size. With that in mind, I would tend to skew the browser size graph considerably higher for most clients’ user base – comfortably 15% or more. I guess it’s time to dig up our log files to find an estimated browser dimensions for the Fake Co audience.