I'm designing a new web project for a company. For the success this project, it will be very important to know the main web browsers that users use. What do you think would be the best research methodology for this? It will be effective if I launch a research form for them? I have the impression that they are not smart to answer this questions very well, because most people won't know the browser version.

So, are there any other ways to get this information other than using a form?

  • Why is it very important to know the specific browsers? – DA01 Sep 29 '15 at 16:57
  • Ask them. Ask the user! You don't need a research methodology. Just reach out to your user base and ask them! – Evil Closet Monkey Sep 29 '15 at 20:27
  • @DA01 - one thought (perhaps not true to the OP), is browser support. I've used IE usage statistics in the past to argue the need for support, but mostly I use those statistics to argue the need to update. :) – Evil Closet Monkey Sep 29 '15 at 20:29
  • It's really important. This is something most of us gives for granted, but just to give an example, we're having lots of issues with an app with some features not working on IE8. Yes, an outdated and unsupported browser.... Installed in many corporate computers in US. The target for our app is... executives working with those computers. So yes, it's of foremost importance (and I'm not even considering mobile browsers vs desktop browsers) – Devin Sep 30 '15 at 3:18

Well, first, calling your users stupid probably isn't the best way to begin the research. Second, most people with any experience in this industry will know it's extremely easy to pull that info from an analytics report or a simple bit of JavaScript code.

Good luck.

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  • Thanks Paul. So, Can I put a JavaScript code on my form to get this like a Google Form? tks. – Pedro Lalli Sep 29 '15 at 16:45
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    Yes, this data will be in the existing analytics (web logs). But note that that can lead to bad assumptions as well. For instance, if you have parts of your site that simply don't work with some browsers (which was common back in the day), people with other browsers wouldn't show up in your logs because they'd give up on your site...but those other browsers were absolutely customers you want to target. So just be wary of analytics on this level. It's useful information, but don't treat it as gospel. – DA01 Sep 29 '15 at 16:59
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    Nothing you do will get you exact numbers. A basic analytics report will get you going in the right direction. Want to know if more people are using IE or Chrome? Just look at the logs and you'll get a good idea. – Paul Dessert Sep 29 '15 at 17:02
  • @PedroLalli There are a few ways to go about it. It all depends on your setup. Backend code, front end code, server logs, Google Analytics... – Paul Dessert Sep 29 '15 at 17:03
  • @PaulDessert right, but my point is that if your existing site doesn't work with Chrome, then a lack of Chrome browsers in your logs isn't necessarily indicative of what your users want to use. Admittedly, this is less of an issue today than 10 years ago when browser-centric sites were being built. But given the OP is even asking this question, I worry that they do have a site that currently is only targetting particular browsers. – DA01 Sep 29 '15 at 20:53

Use the User-Agent property of the HTTP Request Header


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    I wanted to also comment that a good technique if you are worried about a particular feature being compatible with the browser is to write a JavaScript function to detect if the function is available and then a fall back if it is not. JS <script type="text/javascript"> if(window.addEventListener) { window.addEventListener("load", myFunction, false); } else if(window.attachEvent) { window.attachEvent("onload", myFunction); }</script> – AKirby50 Sep 29 '15 at 22:48

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