QuirksMode.org reader survey, part I

In December I held a QuirksMode reader survey on Urtak. It had 69 questions, and about 55,000 answers were given by about 1,100 respondents. Here’s a partial summary of the findings.

About one quarter of the total number of questions was submitted by readers — and some of them are very interesting ones. Even better, I had to reject only a quarter or so of the submitted reader questions. So the collaborative aspect of Urtak is a resounding success.

This entry gives some information about the respondents themselves, about how they deal with IE6 and 7, and whether and how they test mobile and tablet devices.

Urtak allows you to create cross-tabs of two questions (and no more than two). For this entry my primary interest was to see whether my European and US respondents differed.

There’s one restriction on the cross-tabs: at least 100 people must have replied Yes to the first question in order to get a more-or-less representative response.

Incidentally, you can create cross-tabs yourself at the site. Play with the data if you feel like it.

About you

Here are the findings about you. The most interesting one is your gender: 95% of you is male. Weirdly 98% of my European respondents is male, against only 86% of my US respondents. That’s a large gap.

Overall, slightly more than one-third of the respondents works as a freelancer, and slightly more than one-third in a medium- to large-size web company. I assume the others work either in companies of 2-4 people. or in the web department of a non-website company.

Nearly half uses Chrome as their default browser (this fits the browser stat data from my site, though the fit is not perfect). About three out of four have their own, private projects next to their jobs. Four out of five consider themselves autodidact.

Differences between Europe and the US: Chrome is used more in the US, US respondents are more likely to have five years of experience under their belt, but Europeans are more likely to be autodidact.

About you
Question All Europe US
Do you live in Europe? 58% - -
Do you live in the US? 30% - -
Are you male? 95% 98% 86%
Do you consider yourself autodidact in web development and/or design? 82% 83% 78%
Have you been working as a web developer for over five years? 74% 72% 83%
Is your primary browser Chrome? 49% 45% 54%
Do you work as a freelancer? 36% 36% 34%
Do you have your own site/project that you run independently of your primary job? 73% 74% 73%
Do you visit web design or development conferences? 49% 52% 49%
Do you work in a company whose core business is the creation of websites for others and that has at least 5 employees? 38% 37% 38%
Are you a member of Fronteers? 4% 7% 1%

About IE6 and IE7

How many of you still care for IE6 and IE7? Six out of ten of you still test your sites in IE6 and IE7, and about half of you charge your clients extra if you must support these browsers.

However, less than one out of five of you report that IE6 and IE7 together account for at least 1/3 of the traffic to your sites. This percentage is much lower among people who charge their clients extra.

Europeans are more likely to refuse to make their sites work with these older browsers.

About IE6 and IE7
Question All Europe US Charge
Do you charge your clients extra for making their sites work in IE6 and IE7? 52% 53% 50% -
Do you test your sites in IE6 and IE7? 61% 63% 62% 60%
Do you purposefully make your web site _not_ work on IE6 or IE7? 18% 20% 12% 27%
Do IE6 and IE7 together account for at least 1/3 of the traffic to your sites? 17% 13% 21% 8%

About testing on mobile phones

Then we come to the questions that interest me most personally: on what kind of mobile phones and tablets do you test? I split up the replies according to geography, but also among iPhone- and Android users.

In general Europe has slightly fewer iPhone users than the US, but slightly more Android users.

Very generally speaking iPhone users are more attuned to the mobile Web, although in most cases the difference is slight. Only when it comes to testing on two different Android devices do Android users significantly outpace iPhone users — perhaps not surprisingly. Also, Android users use WAY more QR tags than others (23% vs 11% for iPhone).

iPhone users have more experience with Windows Phone 7 and the BlackBerry PlayBook. For some reason this surprised me, but it’s clear now that, at least among my readers, iPhone users are more mobile-savvy than Android users.

The difference between Europeans and Americans is larger. In general, Americans are more of the opinion that only iOS and Android will remain important (56% vs 42% in Europe), care less about testing OSs that are neither iOS nor Android (18% vs 28% in Europe), and test less in Opera Mini (14% vs 25% in Europe). Still, Americans test their sites more on mobile/tablet devices in general (77% vs 72% in Europe) and use more jQuery Mobile (17% vs 12% in Europe).

In any case it’s clear that geography is more important than OS preference for deciding what to test on. This makes sense — the European and US mobile browser market shares are quite different.

About testing on mobile phones
Question All Europe US iPhone Android
Is your primary phone an iPhone? 42% 41% 49% - -
Is your primary phone an Android? 35% 37% 33% - -
Do you think that of the myriad mobile OSs, only iPhone and Android will remain important? 47% 42% 56% 51% 50%
Do you test your sites on at least two tablets? 17% 16% 18% 22% 16%
Do you test your sites on at least two mobile phones? (Not tablets, phones) 48% 51% 46% 55% 52%
Do you test your sites on a tablet or mobile device that runs neither iOS nor Android? 25% 28% 18% 24% 22%
Have you done any site testing on Windows Phone 7? 15% 16% 13% 18% 12%
Have you tested your site on the BlackBerry PlayBook? 5% 4% 5% 9% 3%
Do you hope that WebKit will become the only rendering engine, and that the others will gradually disappear? 32% 28% 36% 39% 27%
Do you set up different landscape and portrait layouts for your mobile web sites? 30% 31% 27% 35% 28%
Do you test on at least two Android devices from different vendors? 21% 20% 21% 18% 33%
Do you test your sites in Opera Mini? 21% 25% 14% 19% 25%
Do you test your sites on any device that's not a classic desktop or laptop? 72% 72% 77% 82% 70%
Have you used PhoneGap, WebWorks, Titanium or any other HTML5 wrapper to create native mobile/tablet apps? 21% 21% 22% 26% 21%
Do you publish QR Code tags as quick links to your App / Site? 16% 16% 15% 11% 23%
Do you use jQuery Mobile to develop mobile websites? 17% 12% 17% 19% 16%
Do you practice the "mobile first" philosophy when approaching a new web project? 25% - - - -

The Mobile First question came in late in the survey and too few people answered Yes, so I will not publish the cross-tabs.

To be continued

There are plenty more fun facts to be gleaned from the reader survey. In a future post I’ll give some more numbers and cross-tabs.

This is the blog of Peter-Paul Koch, mobile platform strategist, consultant, and trainer. You can also follow him on Twitter.
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