Hack 74. Know Which Technographic Data to Ignore
Not all technical data is as useful as it looks at first glance. Knowing what to pay attention to and what to ignore can save you time and prevent frustration
surmised by now in reading this book, web measurement applications provide a wealth of information about your
, most of it good! While the
certainly mean well, often they provide information because they cannot because there is a great business reason for doing so. Unfortunately, not all the available information is useful,
when you're talking about technographic
Since most vendors provide the same technographic data, it is worth reviewing which of this information you should use and which you should ignore.
5.8.1. Technographic Data to Use
The following are technographic data points and reports that are
useful to web data analysts.
Your web developers and quality assurance
will benefit from a complete list of visitor browser types. Use recent (last 90 days) samples to ensure QA efforts map well to current browser trends.
A central concern for web developers is how much screen real estate to use, and the
between 800 x 600 and 1024 x 768 screen
. Keep a close eye on how these
; looking for the opportunity to use more screen real estate
will help you make more effective design decisions.
Figure 5-13. Representative sample of technographic data
The cookies report provides a partial
into the accuracy
of your data if you're using a page tag or augmenting your web server logfiles with a cookie. While not the final word on cookie acceptance by your visitors, I recommend checking this report on a monthly basis to look for any large decreases in cookie acceptance.
5.8.2. Technographic Data to Ignore
The following are technographic data points and elements that are
insight into your visitors, either because they're too granular, not granular enough, or because they're
While the specifics of browser type are useful from a development standpoint, watching the browser wars play out is interesting, but not useful.
Simply put, if you do a good job presenting content, your visitors will scroll. Alternatively, the "fold" (bottom-most point in a browser's initial load without any scrolling) is
by the browser's width using a standard calculation.
You should build well-designed web pages that use web-friendly colors.
The screen width report provides relevant and useful information.
Depending on the breakdown of browser versions at your web site, it is very likely that this report will not paint a useful picture of plug-in usage
on the part of your visitors. I recommend avoiding all but the most standard plug-ins (Adobe PDF, RealPlayer, Windows Media Player, Macromedia Flash) and always building to the
version released (when relevant).
Unless you do something particularly complex on your web site, you should avoid using Java. If you need Java, know that over 90 percent of Internet users have Java enabled and use it
5.8.3. Technographic Data that Depends on Your Specific Needs
As you might expect, some data points are either useful or not, depending on your particular needs at the time. The following data points are
in an "it depends" category and are worth understanding, just in case.
If you're actively working to provide content to mobile users, use this report the same way you would the browser types report. If you're not
about mobile users, ignore.
Since you'll be able to get the important information about which browsers are being used by OS from the browser version report, you may be able to ignore operating systems. However, if you develop downloadable applications, you should use this report to make sure you're providing for less-popular operating systems.
In general, technographic metrics are for web design and development
and have little direct impact on your overall business success.