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When building websites, it's important to make sure that they work in as many different operating systems and browsers as possible.

This means it's important to keep an eye on which are the most popular browsers on desktop and mobile, and which are the most popular screen sizes that your visitors are using. 

Desktop vs mobile

Over the last five years, the web has seen a revolution with the increase in mobile usage.

A year ago, desktop computers account for about 56% of all internet traffic and mobiles about 39%, with tablets making up the remaining 5%. 

We're seeing a continuation of that trend, with desktop use now around 50% and mobile 45%, with tablets steady at 5%.

Many people are predicting that 2017 will be the year that mobile overtakes desktop usage, watch this space!

Desktop browsers

As of December 2016 the most popular browsers on desktop computers are:

  • Google Chrome 62% - Chrome has seen a 10% increase on desktop computers over the last year, as more users stop using Internet Explorer. 
  • Mozilla Firefox 15% - Now only used by a handful of diehard fans, Firefox has been struggling with problems regarding using too much memory
  • Internet Explorer 10% - Microsoft are hoping to retire this ageing browser in favour of their new Edge browser
  • Safari 5% - Apple stopped releasing Safari for Windows a few years ago, so only Apple fans can use this browser now
  • Edge 3% - Expect to see this climb slowly as it replaces Internet Explorer

Mobile browsers

Here are the latest stats for mobile browser use:

  • Google Chrome 40% - Climbing steadily, this browser is standard on Android phones and now available for iPhone
  • Safari 18% - Once it was the only browser available on iPhone, it's now losing users to Chrome
  • UC Browser 17% - hardly known in the west, this browser has 500m users in China, Indonesia and Russia
  • Opera 10% - Opera have always had a reputation for doing things differently and have a core user base
  • Samsung Internet 7% - Samsung use a heavily modified version of the Android operating system with its own browser
  • Android 6% - Previously the default browser in Android phones, it's now been replaced with Chrome

Screen sizes

Here's where it gets interesting, there are now a huge range of screen sizes that web designers need to cater for.

Here are the top ten sizes:

  1. 360x640: 16.42% (mobile)
  2. 1366x768: 13.86%
  3. 1920x1080: 6.6%
  4. 375x667: 3.95% (mobile)
  5. Unknown: 3.68%
  6. 720x1280: 3.33%
  7. 1280x800: 3.11%
  8. 768x1024: 3.09%
  9. 320x568: 3.05% (mobile)
  10. 1440x900: 2.9%

A few years ago you could just design for a few set sizes and be happy with it, but look at the range of sizes in that list. 

The tenth most popular screen size accounts for under 3% of total data. Statcounter, where this data came from, list 232 different screen sizes in their reporting. 

What this means

This makes designers jobs a lot harder, which is why websites look a lot simpler these days - gone are the photo-realistic textures, replaced with simple flat colours and square boxes. A lot of web designers started out as print designers, where you don't have a problem of your page being resized to fit a reader's magazine! 

It's going to be interesting to see what happens to web design trends over the next few years...

Tagged under: Bluffers guide   Design   Mobile