Mobile device usage

Last week I mentioned that while I couldn’t give a definitive list, our initial focus for a mobile website would be higher end devices. One thing we do know is what people are using at the moment to access our sites on the move:

Mobile device usage for

Data for the above chart is taken from 14th April – 13th June 2010 and the usual warnings apply to statistics sourced from Google Analytics – it only includes browsers executing JavaScript.

What is clear though is that Apple’s devices are massively more popular than anything else – over 75% of page views are from iPhones and iPod Touch browsers.

Mobile usage is fast moving so we’ll be continuing to monitor trends and statistics will drive much of what we do in our forthcoming developments.

Hot or Not?

HeatmapInspired by University of Bath’s post about how they deleted the internet, last week we installed some heatmap software to plot where on a page users click.  We’ve had it running on a few pages and already some interesting patterns are showing.

We’ll be using these heatmaps to help up determine what’s working on the site and analyse behaviour patterns when migrating the intranet across to GO and in developing new designs for the homepage.

A stick of BarCamp Blackpool rock to the first person to identify which page the above heatmap comes from [excludes members of Web Services].

Browser stats

Phil Wilson from the University of Bath has just published a summary of browser statistics so I thought it might be interesting to do a comparison.

We also use Google Analytics and it covers virtually every page on the site.  We don’t distinguish internal visitors so I’ll give figures for external and total.

External visitors:

Browser Visits Breakdown
Internet Explorer 79.65% IE6: 18.5%; IE7: 68.5%; IE8: 13%
Firefox 14.05%
Safari 3.78%
Chrome 1.89%
Opera 0.25%

All visitors:

Browser Visits Breakdown
Internet Explorer 80.30% IE6: 17%; IE7: 71%; IE8: 11.8%
Firefox 13.77% FX2: 6%; FX3: ~90%
Safari 3.55%
Chrome 1.80%
Opera 0.23%

Still far too many IE6 users both inside and outside the University. I will be very glad when it stops being a significant problem but browser share is dropping very slowly and none of the various proposals for encouraging people to upgrade seem very attractive to me.

Interestingly, looking at the stats for, Firefox usage jumps to 33.5% with IE at 56%.

Random Stat

BBC News’ Magazine Monitor have been running a feature publishing a random statistic every day. This alone is worth subscribe to their feed for, although their sardonic review of the papers is good fun too. Today’s stat is:

Fifteen per cent of people have checked their e-mails at a wedding, according to a survey. Just over a quarter (26%) of the 3,000 people surveyed by 72 Point for Leaders of London, said they had checked their inbox while on holiday.

It wasn’t my wedding and I only logged in to check for comments on this blog, dear reader 🙂

Better Blog Day 11: Dig Into Your Blog’s Statistics

I’m going to skip day 10 – declutter your sidebar – as it’s fairly clean as it is and I like how the IT Services blogs, and some of the other University blogs, have the same theme with a consistent layout, albeit with different colour schemes and graphics.

So today I’m looking at stats using Google Analytics and other tools.

Top Posts

  1. Web development with symfony
  2. Go PHP5!
  3. Facebook Applications
  4. The Paris Hilton effect…
  5. Jobs Website Live

Interesting that three of the top five are tagged symfony – the project website syndicates blog posts related to the framework leading to a boost in traffic.


The number one source of referrals to our blog is, unsurprisingly, our own website, the latest posts feed on the homepage of the intranet accounts for about 30% of visitors. Number two is the symfony website and the peaks in traffic are clearly visible. Google is next up with people clicking through from Google Reader. Technorati follows with a variety of queries including tags such as IWMW and direct from the blog info page. Finally is my own website (Edge Hill University is not responsible for content of external websites etc etc…!)

Search Engines

Across the whole domain because it’s more interesting (and easier to work out):

  1. Google – by far, with half the top ten searches for people.
  2. Ask – very bizarre series of searches for “paul cheeseman core services” over a three week period. Deeply worrying, but excellent page/visit and average time on site!.
  3. Yahoo – interesting range of searches, just not many of them.
  4. AOL – someone’s been searching for “ceremonial mace makers“.
  5. Live – must try harder.

Bounce Rates

The bounce rate is the percentage of users who don’t click any further links after arriving at a site (lower is better). Overall across it’s 53.5% – Web Services is slightly lower.


We don’t currently have good stats for feed usage but looking at the raw log files, about 15 people are subscribed using Google Reader, half a dozen using Bloglines plus a variety of other services. Now that FeedBurner allows you to use your own domain maybe it’s time to sign up and pipe some feeds through it and find out how many people are reading that way – I suspect it’s a significant number.

Analysis on the doorstep!

I think it’s fair to say that the analysis of web traffic is a somewhat neglected aspect of our service. Whilst we endeavour to use web stats to inform decisions regarding the usability and information for our website I certainly feel we could/should do a lot more with the information. The difficulty has always been with regard to “lack of available resources” and as a consequence search engine optimisation and web statistics analysis is always on our ‘wish’ rather than ‘to do’ lists.

Thanks to Google Analytics though I’m now confident we can do a lot more with less. We’ve been using the Google Analytics tool for several months and it’s providing some really useful data about the behaviour of our users. Whilst we have used a stats package for many years, Google Analytics gives us more comprehensive data in a much more usable format.

As has been the case for many years the majority of our users come directly to our site or by typing “edge hill” (or a variant of) through the Google search engine. In one sense that’s a positive – in terms of marketing and PR – people know about us and look for us so they come to the site for more information. On the other hand though we could certainly improve our web marketing to ensure that more users find their way to the course provision listed on the Edge Hill website without directly looking for us. Whilst we structure content to facilitate this the statistics provided by Google Analytics do help us identify areas for improvement.

Internally we have been discussing some of these issues for a while and work is on-going to utilise the information provided to inform future marketing campaigns (both on and off-line). So an email from Mike this morning stating that a new and even better version of Google Analytics was on it’s way was very welcome!

I’ve had a look at the demo for the new product and I’m very impressed. The new version appears to offer a much greater level of functionality and my favourite bit – automated reports. The ability to customise and automate reports will be extremely useful for us as without a dedicated resource to plough through information it’s always an onerous task. The Google Analytics blog gives details of the new features and expected release . In a resource limited team and in an increasingly competitive environment, I for one will look foward to trying it out.