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Why Are There Such Great Differences?
The apparent dilemma stems from fact that we all have our own set of visitors. Each comes to us from a vast pool of many millions of Web users. Those who show up on my site may never even hear about yours, let alone visit.
Thus my visitors are not representative of yours, except as to fundamentals. For example, all site visitors ask first, "What's in it for me?" Such basics relate to every site. The specifics do not.
Even if a massive, well respected study reported only 1% of surfers use 640 x 480 monitors, it still might not apply to your site. For as suggested above, pool is so vast, hoping to draw a truly random sample from it is impossible.
Further, things change rapidly on Web. Not long ago, Netscape was browser leader. As Microsoft continued to demand Internet Explorer be installed on all new systems delivered, dominance of Netscape began to fade. Even after being acquired by AOL, market share continued to drop.
Can you assume it will continue to do so? That would leave us with only one major browser. A Microsoft product. A company already at odds with Justice department in anti-trust actions. It may prove to be in their best interest to assure that Netscape regains a significant share of market.
What seems so today is suspect, for it may not be so tomorrow. Rather than making assumptions which may prove false tomorrow, better plan is to accommodate all possible options today, and be prepared to make changes tomorrow.
The Mistake That Matters Most
But second mistake made by fellow mentioned above is in ignoring Netscape users however small their numbers be. Suppose only 5% of my visitors use Netscape. To toss away this many potential customers is foolish at least. I take time to make it work for them.
Plug ins are popular of late. Will users take time to download and install one so as to see your site in all its glory? I doubt it. What's best is to offer option to do so, but be sure your site functions effectively without it.
One of my systems uses a Pentium II with awesome supporting resources. However, it doesn't have a sound card. A site that requires I have one, will hold my attention only so long as it takes to hit Back button or enter another URL.
If we make assumptions about power and tools our visitors have readily available, to extent we are wrong, we are driving them off our sites.
When you consider how hard it is to draw a new visitor, driving even one away seems a pretty silly thing to do.
Bob McElwain Want to build a winning site? Improve one you already have? Fix one that's busted? Get ANSWERS. Subscribe to "STAT News" now! mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org Web marketing and consulting since 1993 Site: Phone: 209-742-6349